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Precision PXI source measure unit resolves 10 fA

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By Jean-Pierre Joosting


The module has; a DC source that can drive up to 20W, to 200V or 1A maximum output; 10 fA current sensitivity; triaxial measurement-channel connectors to screen terminations for accurate low-current measurements; 1.8 Msmple/sec maximum sample rate and 100 ksample/sec update rate; NI SourceAdapt technology for fast and stable measurements; and a capacity of up to 17 SMU channels in a 4U, 19 in. PXI chassis.

Engineers can use modular NI PXI SMUs to build parallel, high-channel-count systems in a compact form factor with up to 68 SMU channels in a single PXI chassis that can scale to hundreds of channels to address wafer-level reliability and parallel test. Test throughput is increased by a high-speed communication bus, deterministic hardware sequencing and a digital control loop technology to custom-tune the SMU response for any device under test. Engineers can also control the SMU response through software, which removes unnecessarily long wait times for SMU settling and offers the flexibility to help minimise overshoot and oscillations even with highly capacitive loads.

NI comments that, “Increasing complexity in semiconductor devices requires us to rethink the conventional approach for research, characterisation and reliability measurements, and that’s been a key motivator for our SMU investments in PXI.” A user comment comes from Belgian researchers imec, whose Dr. Bart De Wachter, says, “Our in-line parametric tests require us to acquire millions of data points, often with leakage current in the picoampere range… the PXI SMU allows us to accurately measure these low-current signals [with] speed improvements offered by the PXI platform and the flexibility of programming the system with LabVIEW.”


Delivering the ease of use expected from a box SMU, the interactive soft front panels on NI PXI SMUs can be used for making basic measurements and debugging automated applications. The driver features help files, documentation and ready-to-run example programs to assist in test code development, and includes a programming interface that works with a variety of development environments such as C, Microsoft .NET and LabVIEW system design software. Engineers can also use NI PXI SMUs with NI’s TestStand test management software, simplifying the creation and deployment of test systems in the lab or production floor.

A white paper on using NI PXI Source Measure Units is here

NI; www.ni.com


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