Test & Measurement

Source measure unit extends applications reach

6th November 2014
Mick Elliott

Keithley Instruments has added to its benchtop SMU instrumentation range with a capacitive touchscreen graphical user interface (GUI). It has launched the Model 2460 SourceMeter which offers users higher power sourcing (up to 105V, 7A DC/7A pulse, 100W max.) with 0.012% basic measurement accuracy and 6½-digit resolution, making it ideal for high power, high precision I-V characterisation of modern materials and high power devices.

The Model 2460’s features give it the adaptability needed for use in a wide range of applications.

A flexible, four-quadrant voltage and current source/load coupled with precision voltage and current measurement capabilities make it suitable for research and development of modern high power semiconductor devices made of wide band gap materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). These features also make it well suited for characterizing elements of power conversion and management systems, such as solar cells/panels, new materials, and power management devices for telecommunications, consumer electronics, automotive, and medical products.

For electrochemistry applications, the instrument’s high current output supports galvanic cycling of rechargeable batteries; its four-quadrant source and sink design makes it suitable for cyclic voltammetry with electrochemical cells. Its built-in control and display features also make the Model 2460 useful for characterising electrochemical deposition, corrosion, and electroplating.

For characterising optoelectronic devices like LEDs, OLEDs, HBLEDs, solid-state lighting, and laser diodes, the Model 2460’s 7A DC capability provides the high current needed for forward and reverse bias I-V characterisation; the 7A pulse current capability minimises device self-heating during leakage current testing.

The instrument brings together the functionality of a power supply, true current source, 6½-digit multimeter, electronic load, and trigger controller in one tightly integrated, half-rack instrument, so it can integrate the capabilities of I‑V systems, curve tracers, and semiconductor analysers at a fraction of their cost.

In response to changes in the test and measurement market, including shrinking product design/development cycles, fewer personnel devoted exclusively to test engineering, and the growing number of instrument users who are relatively new to test, the Model 2460’s design incorporates ease-of-use features that ensure a faster “time-to-answer” than competitive solutions.

These include a full-colour, five-inch touchscreen user interface with an icon-based menu structure that allows reaching any measurement set-up panel with just a touch, allowing even novice users to operate the instrument.

The extended current measurement eliminate the need to configure an additional high current power supply into a test system.

A full graphical plotting window converts raw data and displays it immediately as useful information, such as semiconductor I-V curves and voltammograms. The touchscreen supports “pinch and zoom” operation to allow examining data in the graph in detail.

There is also a built-in context-sensitive help function on screen minimising the need to review a manual.

The instrument will be on show at the electronica exhibition in Munich

The Model 2460 is also engineered to simplify integration into automated test systems:

An onboard Test Script Processor embeds complete test programs into non-volatile memory within the instrument itself to provide higher test throughput by eliminating the GPIB/USB/LAN traffic problems common to systems dependent on an external PC controller. TSP technology even supports testing multiple devices in parallel, with each instrument in the system able to run its own complete test sequence, creating a fully multi-threaded test environment.

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