Keithley Combines Curve Tracer, Parametric Analyzer Functionality

October 22, 2012. Keithley Instruments Inc. has introduced seven instrumentation, software, and test-fixture configurations for parametric curve-tracing applications for characterizing high-power devices at up to 3,000 V and 100 A, including devices based on silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) technology. These systems offer the power required for the majority of high-power device design and development applications and are optimized to address the characterization and test needs of research, reliability, failure-analysis, and power-device applications engineers; power device designers; incoming inspection technicians; and others.

Lee Stauffer, a Keithley staff technologist, noted, “Many power device developers have told us they like the dynamic range and ease of use of a traditional curve tracer, but they know they need more flexibility in configuring the measurement channels, as well as the accuracy, capability, and graphical user interface that a modern parametric analyzer offers.”

In contrast with solutions that require all instrumentation to be housed in a chassis, all seven Keithley configurations offer the flexibility to add new measurement channels economically as users' needs evolve, with no need to return the system to the factory to install new hardware. For example, someone could start with an entry level parametric curve tracer, then add the capabilities of additional System SourceMeter instruments, such as higher voltage and/or higher current, at a later date. Six different System SourceMeter instrument models can be mixed and matched to create the optimum combination of voltage, current, and power for the user's specific needs. Keithley's TSP-Link virtual backplane technology makes it easy to incorporate any number of source-measure channels, all of which are fully and automatically synchronized with other SourceMeter instruments in the system.

All seven configurations include the latest version of Keithley's ACS (Automated Characterization Suite) Basic Edition software, which supports Keithley's newest SMUs and takes maximum advantage of the Series 2600B's TSP-Link connection trigger model, which allows for 500-ns trigger synchronization between instruments. This tighter synchronization capability maximizes the high speed pulse mode capabilities of the new Model 2651A and Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter instruments.

The Windows-compatible ACS Basic Edition package provides control and analysis tools suited for high-power-device characterization, including complete parametric test libraries for MOSFETs, BJTs, triacs, diodes, and IGBTs. The software's “trace” mode, which uses an on-screen slider control that works much like the power control knob on a traditional analog curve tracer, allows users to control the level of voltage and current levels sourced interactively and to see how the power device responds in real time. The software's “parametric” mode provides a “fill-in-the-blanks” GUI to configure a test precisely and a comprehensive set of tools for precise parameter extraction. All seven bundles also include all cabling and adapters required for system assembly, as well as a number of sample power devices useful for training and demonstration purposes.

Sales of the parametric curve tracer configurations will begin immediately and units will ship within four weeks ARO. List prices of the configurations range from $26,000 to $90,000.

See related article,Customers seek optimum price points with instrument choices.”

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