News Article

High Voltage Meter For High Power Semiconductor Testing

Keithley's new tool is optimised for characterising many materials including gallium nitride, silicon carbide and other compound semiconductor materials

 Keithley Instruments has unveiled the Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter.

The Model 2657A adds high voltage to the company’s Series 2600A System SourceMeter family of high speed, precision source measurement units.

Together, these instruments allow the characterisation of a very broad range of power semiconductor devices and materials including GaN and SiC based materials. 



 Keithley 2657A SourceMeter

A built-in 3,000 V, 180 W source enables the Model 2657 A to source up to five times as much power to a device under test as the nearest competitive system, at significantly lower cost.

The precision, high speed 6 ½ digit measurement engine built into the Model 2657A enables 1 fA (femtoamp) current measurement resolution to support the low-leakage requirements of next-generation power semiconductor devices.

The Model 2657A is optimised for high voltage applications such as testing power semiconductor devices, including diodes, FETs, and IGBTs, GaN, SiC, and other compound semiconductor materials. It can also be used to characterise high speed transients and performing breakdown and leakage tests on a variety of electronic devices at up to 3,000 V.

Like the rest of the Series 2600A family, the Model 2657A offers a four-quadrant voltage and current source/load coupled with precision voltage and current meters. It combines the functionality of multiple instruments in a single full-rack enclosure: semiconductor characterisation instrument, precision power supply, true current source, 6 ½ -digit DMM, arbitrary waveform generator, voltage or current pulse generator, electronic load, and trigger controller, and is fully expandable into a multi-channel, tightly synchronised system via Keithley’s TSP-Link technology.

Keithley says that unlike competitive solutions, which are typically limited in terms of power, the Model 2657A can source or sink up to 180 W of DC power (± 3,000 V @20 mA, ± 1500 V @ 120 mA).

The Model 2657A also offers 1 fA resolution, allowing it to make fast, accurate sub- picoamp measurements even when sourcing up to 3000 V.

The Model 2657A provides a choice of digitising or integrating measurement modes for characterising both transient and steady-state behaviour, including rapidly changing thermal effects. Each mode is defined by two independent analogue-to-digital (A/D) converters ; one for current and the other for voltage. Both run simultaneously to ensure accurate source readback without sacrificing test throughput.

The digitising measurement mode’s 18-bit A/D converters support one-microsecond-per-point sampling, so users can capture voltage and current transients simultaneously. In contrast, competing solutions typically must average multiple readings to produce a result, so they aren’t fast enough to characterise transient behaviour.

The integrating measurement mode, based on 22-bit A/D converters and common to all Series 2600A instruments, optimises the Model 2657A’s operation for applications that demand the highest measurement accuracy and resolution. This ensures extremely precise measurements of the very low currents and high voltages common in next-generation power semiconductor devices.

Basic device characterisation can be performed with no need for software installation or programming with TSP Express, Keithley’s LXI-based I-V test software utility. Users can simply connect a PC to the LXI LAN port and access TSP Express with any Java-enabled web browser. Test results can be viewed in either graphical or tabular format and then exported to a .csv file for use with spreadsheet applications.

Two additional tools for creating test sequences are provided with the Model 2657A: the Test Script Builder application (for creating, modifying, debugging, running, and managing TSP scripts) and an IVI-based LabVIEW driver (to simplify integrating the Model 2657A into LabVIEW test sequences). The Test Script Builder application has new debugging capabilities that make test program development easier and more productive.

ACS Basic Edition software is also available as an option for component characterisation. The latest release offers a rich set of features for characterising high voltage and high current components. The included measurement libraries have been updated to support both DC and pulse mode operation of both the high voltage Model 2657A and high current Model 2651A High Power System SourceMeter instruments.

These libraries address a variety of power devices, including FETs, BJTs, diodes, IGBTs, etc., with tests that include input, output, and transfer characteristics on most devices. A special “Trace Mode" provides real-time control over an instrument’s voltage or current output using a simple slider.

The Model 2657A can be connected to other instruments in a test system with standard safe high voltage (SHV) coaxial cable connections compatible with existing high voltage test applications. However, for applications that depend on getting the most from the instrument’s low current measurement performance, Keithley also offers special HV triaxial (guarded) connections to optimise the Model 2657A’s measurement accuracy.

The optional new Model 8010 High Power Device Test Fixture provides connections for testing packaged high power devices at up to 3000 V or 100 A, making it safer and simpler to configure a device test system that includes the high voltage Model 2657A, one or two high current Model 2651A instruments, and up to three low power SMU instruments (other Series 2600A instruments or the Model 4200-SCS semiconductor characterisation system).

As well as having standard banana jumpers, the Model 8010 has rear-panel oscilloscope and thermal probe ports to simplify system integration for further DUT characterisation. The system also has full safety interlock capability.

To prevent instrument damage if a device fault occurs, integrated protection circuits in the Model 8010 safeguard the inputs of the lower voltage Series 2600A instruments from the high voltages the Model 2657A can output. Individual protection modules are also available to simplify connecting multiple SMUs safely to a third-party probe station, component handler, or other test fixture.

Price for the model 2657A starts at $17,900 depending on configuration and geography. Shipments will begin in May, with lead times of two weeks ARO.

ACS Basic Edition software is $5,000                       Model 8010 High Power Test Device Fixture is $6,500.
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