High voltage SourceMeter is optimized for power semiconductor test

March 22, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Test and measurement system vendor Keithley Instruments has launched the Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter instrument. The instrument adds high voltage to the company's Series 2600A System SourceMeter family of high speed, precision source measurement units. With its ability to measure very high voltages and extremely low currents the instrument is ideal to test next-generation power semiconductors such as SiC or GaN transistors.

The 2600A product family aims at applications in the semiconductor industry. It allows customers to characterize a broad range of power semiconductor devices and materials. A built-in 3,000V, 180W source allows the Model 2657A to source up to five times as much power to a device under test as the nearest competitive system, at significantly lower cost, promises Keithley. The precision, high speed 6-1/2-digit measurement engine built into the Model 2657A enables 1fA (femtoamp) current measurement resolution to support the low-leakage requirements of next-generation power semiconductor devices.

The Model 2657A is optimized for high voltage applications such as testing power semiconductor devices, including diodes, FETs, and IGBTs, as well as characterizing newer materials such as gallium nitride (GaN), silicon carbide (SiC), and other compound semiconductor materials and devices. It is also useful for characterizing high speed transients and performing breakdown and leakage tests on a variety of electronic devices at up to 3,000V.

Like the rest of the Series 2600A family, the Model 2657A offers a flexible 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 characterization instrument, precision power supply, true current source, 6-1/2-digit DMM, arbitrary waveform generator, voltage or current pulse generator, electronic load, and trigger controller. In addition, it is expandable into a multi-channel, tightly synchronized system via Keithley's TSP-Link technology. Unlike competitive solutions, which are typically limited in terms of power, the Model 2657A can source or sink up to 180W of DC power (±3,000V@20mA, ±1,500V@120mA).

The 2657A provides a choice of digitizing or integrating measurement modes for characterizing both transient and steady-state behavior, including rapidly changing thermal effects. Each mode is defined by two independent analog-to-digital (A/D) converters—one for current and the other for voltage—that run simultaneously to ensure accurate source readback without sacrificing test throughput. The digitizing measurement mode's 18-bit A/D converters support one-microsecond-per-point sampling, so users can