News & Analysis

Rohde & Schwarz boosts power range with new SMUs

16th February 2021
Mick Elliott

Rohde & Schwarz is continuing its mission to meet all test and design engineers demands with a new range of source measure units (SMUs)

Its latest move comes in the power products market where the test and measurement giant has added source measure units (SMUs) to its portfolio.

Rohde & Schwarz entered the power products market in 2018 with a range of basic power supplies.

Aimed at the economy conscious these products suited the education market offering simple manual and PC-based operation.

A step up was then proffered with a range of performance power supplies boasting speed, accuracy and advanced programming. They also featured device under test (DUT) protection, fast programming times and downloadable V and I sequences. They were developed for laboratory and ATE applications.

Speciality power supplies were released in 2019 tailored to specific applications. They offered what Philipp Weigell, Director, Product Management, Power Products, Meters, Sources and Audio Analysers at Rohde & Schwarz describes as “unique capabilities including the ability to emulate the characteristics of a battery and an electronic load to sink current and dissipate power in an accurate and controlled manner.”

“The NGU201 and NGU401 SMUs will augment our power products portfolio,” says Weigell. “They will target three main markets.”

“Research and education covering advanced topics like quantum technologies, semiconductor and components where the SMUs cover current-voltage measurements and battery cathode basic research, and precision electronics in industry verticals including automotive and wireless.”

The two-quadrant R&S NGU201 addresses wireless device battery tests and automatically switches from source mode to sink mode at a defined positive input voltage.

The four-quadrant R&S NGU401 can also switch at negative voltages, supporting source measurements for a vast range of power supply types.

The instruments’ current feedback amplifier technology provides both maximum sensitivity and accuracy to reliably measure currents from nA to A in a single sweep. To handle rapidly changing load conditions typical of battery-powered communications devices switching between sleep and transmit modes, the R&S NGU features an optimised control loop load providing a best in class recovery time of under 30 μs with minimum overshoot.

The R&S NGU SMUs include six current ranges from 10 µA with 100 pA resolution, to 10 A with 10 µA resolution.

For all ranges, accuracy up to 0.025 % is achieved. Voltage is measured with 10 µV resolution in the 20 V range and 1 µV resolution in the 6 V range.

For the typical measurement problem of capacitance at the input to the device under test, the R&S NGU features a variable capacitance mode adjustable in steps from 1 µF to 470 µF, compensating the capacitance, so that the current is displayed as if it was measured directly at the device under test. Devices up to 20 V, 8 A, and 60 W are all supported.

The four-quadrant R&S NGU401 is the specialist for semiconductor testing.

It provides source measurements for any equipment requiring source and sink voltages in the range from –20 V to +20 V. In addition to the voltage regulation mode of power supplies, the R&S NGU includes a fast current regulation mode to avoid damaging current-sensitive devices under test, such as LEDs or other semiconductors.

An external arbitrary waveform source connector turns the R&S NGU401 into an AC source and makes it possible to simulate glitches or unstable power supplies of up to 1 kHz.

The two-quadrant R&S NGU201 is optimised for battery drain analysis of any battery-powered device, including mobile phones, tablets, and the full range of IoT equipment.

Design engineers can use it to simulate real-world battery characteristics.

Once the battery model characteristics are defined, they can be re-used whenever required. With its 8 A maximum current, the instrument even supports fast-charge applications.

In addition to the dedicated source measurement features, the R&S NGU series also includes the elaborate features common to all specialty power supplies from Rohde & Schwarz.

There is a range of interfaces including USB which is standard and optional GPIB and digital I/O.

The market-leading data acquisition rate of 500 ksample per second offered by the FastLog functionality captures voltage and current levels every 2 μs so that even the shortest intermittent glitches are detected.

With the optional built-in digital voltmeter, users can check voltages at any point in the device under test as well as the input voltage.

Both SMUs feature a 5-inch capacitive touch screen offering intuitive user interface.

The new R&S NGU201 and R&S NGU401 source measure units are available as of February 16 from Rohde & Schwarz and selected distribution partners.

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