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NI expands PXI platform capability for semiconductor characterisation

August 24, 2011 // Phil Ling

NI expands PXI platform capability for semiconductor characterisation

The new per-pin parametric measurement unit (PPMU) modules and source measure unit (SMU) modules from NI; the PXIe-6556 200 MHz high-speed digital I/O with PPMU and NI PXIe-4140 and NI PXIe-4141 four-channel SMUs, are said to reduce the cost of capital equipment, decrease test times and increase mixed-signal flexibility for a variety of devices under test.


Using the high-speed digital I/O module, NI says engineers can generate and acquire a digital waveform at up to 200 MHz or perform DC parametric measurements with one percent accuracy on the same pin, simplifying cabling, decreasing test times and increasing the density of the tester.

In addition, engineers can nearly eliminate timing skew due to different cable and trace lengths to the device under test with the built-in timing calibration feature that automatically adjusts timing for these differences. The NI PXIe-6556 comes with an option to switch in another NI SMU for higher precision, and engineers can trigger parametric measurements based on hardware or software triggers.

The NI PXIe-4140/41 SMU modules provide four SMU channels per PXI Express slot and up to 68 SMU channels per PXI chassis in 4U of rack height to simplify testing of high-pin-count devices. With sampling rates of up to 600,000 samples per second, engineers can drastically reduce measurement times or capture important transient characteristics of the device. Additionally, the NI PXIe-4141 features next-generation SourceAdapt technology that engineers can use to custom tune the SMU output response to any given load to achieve maximum stability and minimum transient times.

This capability is not possible with traditional SMU technologies. Combined with NI LabVIEW system design software, NI says these new PPMU and SMU modules add to the modular software-defined approach to semiconductor test by increasing quality, reducing cost and decreasing the time of test across validation, characterisation and production. LabVIEW combines the flexibility of a programming language with the power of an advanced engineering tool so engineers can meet unique, custom requirements.

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