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industry  characterisation


The area of industry Keithley is targeting crosses some intense research fields as well as the growing production needs. Do you have a strategy that enables cost of ownership at the research level and the ability to transfer to production stage with minimal disruption or added cost?


Q A


Absolutely. The Model 2651A, and in fact, the entire Series 2600A System SourceMeter family, incorporates this strategy. For example, researchers often need to characterise a device very quickly by just taking a few measurements. Series 2600A instruments have an embedded TSP Express software tool that allows researchers to perform common I-V tests quickly and easily without programming or installing software. TSP Express, which is LXI compatible, runs from the instrument and is controlled via a web browser running on a PC connected to the instrument via an Ethernet cable. It has an intuitive user interface that resides on the instrument’s built-in web page. A user can just connect a laptop to the instrument with an Ethernet cable, open up a web browser on the laptop, type the instrument’s IP address into the browser, and up comes the test application that’s embedded in the instrument. And from there, the user can quickly point, click, run any of a number of tests, and download the resulting data to a .csv file or view it in graphical or tabular formats. TSP Express supports basic and advanced tests, including nested step/sweeps, pulse sweeps, and custom sweeps for device characterisation applications.


As useful as this software tool is, this is obviously not the approach for production test applications. For system-level applications, our TSP architecture is designed to simplify building high speed, multi-channel IV test systems of multiple instruments. The on-board microprocessor allows each Series 2600A instrument in the system to run its own test scripts, which can


contain any sequence of routines that are executable by conventional programming languages. That means the instrument can manage an entire test without sending readings back to a PC for decision-making, eliminating delays caused by GPIB traffic congestion and greatly improving overall test times.


The TSP-Link bus allows system builders to connect multiple Series 2600A and other TSP instruments in a master-slave configuration so they behave as one integrated system. TSP-Link supports up to 32 units or 64 SMU channels per GPIB or IP address, so it’s pretty easy to scale a system to match the requirements of an application. We also have built-in 500 ns trigger controllers to ensure precise timing and tight channel synchronization of multi-instrument systems.


Series 2600A instruments also provide a parallel testing capability that allows each instrument in the system to run its own complete test sequence, creating a fully multi-threaded test environment. That means you can run as many tests in parallel as you have Series 2600A instruments in the system, which can boost throughput dramatically. And when test requirements change, it’s pretty simple to reconfigure a Series 2600A-based system via software without rewiring. Obviously, one of the big advantages of using the same instrument in the lab and on the production floor is measurement correlation. If manufacturing engineers discover a problem on the production floor, they can work with design engineers to track down the source of the problem much faster, because they can scratch data correlation concerns off their list of “unknowns.”


What are the key interconnect issues that this testing platform addresses?


Q A


In April 2011 Keithley Instruments launched its Model 2651A High Power System SourceMeter, an instrument specifically designed for characterizing high power electronics


28 www.compoundsemiconductor.net October 2011


With the ability to source and measure currents as high as 50A and the ability to resolve leakage currents as low as a picoamp, the Model 2651A offers the widest dynamic range of any SMU currently on the market. To make this possible, we put a lot of effort into developing specialized low resistance cabling and connectors to ensure our customers could make low noise measurements on any range. That specialized cabling is included with the product, so users don’t have to worry if their measurements are being compromised by noisy connections.


Temperature control at interconnect junctions is of concern to manufacturers of high end products. How does the new platform address the industry needs?


Q A


To minimize the unwanted effects of device self- heating during testing, the Model 2651A supports pulsed measurements. A single Model 2651A can pulse


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