Keithley Instruments announces the first benchtop Source Measure Unit (SMU) instrument with a capacitive touchscreen graphical user interface. The Model 2450 SourceMeter SMU Instrument combines the intuitive touchscreen and icon-based control that novice SMU users can appreciate with the exceptional versatility that experienced users need to learn faster, work smarter, and invent easier.
This new design philosophy reflects recent market changes, including shrinking product design/development cycles and fewer personnel devoted exclusively to test engineering tasks. At the same time, the profile of the typical instrument user has also evolved. In addition to electrical engineers, it now includes a growing number of non-engineers (such as electrochemists, physicists, materials scientists, etc.) who need fast access to data but sometimes have limited training in electrical measurement. Additionally, as the previous generation of electrical engineers has retired, their younger replacements have tended to be more software oriented than hardware oriented. To accommodate all of these market and user changes, the Model 2450 incorporates numerous ease-of-use features that ensure a faster “time-to-answer” than competitive solutions, including a context-sensitive help function, “Quickset” modes that speed instrument configuration, and on-screen graphing capabilities that quickly turn raw data into usable results.
The Model 2450 builds on the design strengths and high precision of both the Model 2400 SourceMeter SMU instrument (an industry standard since its 1995 introduction) and the newer Series 2600B System SourceMeter SMU Instrument line. The Model 2450 combines the functionality of a power supply, true current source, 6-1/2-digit multimeter, electronic load, and trigger controller in one tightly integrated, half-rack instrument. With all of these capabilities, the Model 2450 integrates the capabilities of I-V systems, curve tracers, and semiconductor analyzers at a fraction of their cost.
Benchtop Application Advantages
Many of the Model 2450’s features help speed and simplify lab/benchtop work:
- Full-color, 5-inch touchscreen user interface: The full-color display and large on-screen characters enhance legibility. A simple, icon-based menu structure allows reaching any measurement set-up panel with just a touch.
- Extended measurement ranges with superior low current performance: The new low current (100nA, 10nA) and voltage (20mV) ranges eliminate the need to add separate low-level instruments to a benchtop system. Back-panel triax cable connections eliminate the need for expensive cable adaptors, which can degrade low-level measurement performance.
- Built-in context-sensitive help function: Help information is provided right where it’s needed through the touchscreen, minimizing the need to review a manual.
- Error and event logging: The touchscreen displays error messages and an event log to simplify diagnosing instrument errors, for higher productivity.
- KickStart start-up software: This “no-programming” instrument control software simplifies taking and graphing data in minutes. For more complex analyses, data can be easily stored to disk, and then exported to Microsoft Excel or another software environment.
System-Level Application Advantages
Several features simplify integrating the Model 2450 into automated test systems:
- Embedded Test Script Processor: An onboard Test Script Processor embeds complete test programs into non-volatile memory within the instrument itself to provide higher test throughput by eliminating the GPIB traffic problems common to systems dependent on an external PC controller.
- TSP-Link inter-unit communication bus: Unlike users of mainframe-based systems, Model 2450 users are not constrained by power or channel count limitations. TSP-Link connections support system expansion with multiple 2450s and other TSP instruments, including Series 2600B SMU instruments and the Model 3706A Switch/Multimeter. Up to 32 Model 2450 instruments can be linked for multi-point or multi-channel parallel test, under the direction of a master unit’s TSP controller.
- Model 2400 legacy mode: In addition to its native 2450 SCPI operating mode, the Model 2450 offers a 2400 SCPI operating mode for backward compatibility with existing 2400 SCPI programs. This preserves Model 2400 users’ software investments and eliminates the re-work normally associated with upgrading a system with a new instrument.
- PC connectivity and automation: Rear panel triax connectors, multiple instrument communication interfaces (GPIB, USB 2.0, and LXI/Ethernet), a D-sub 9-pin digital I/O port (for internal/external trigger signals and handler control), instrument interlock control, and TSP-Link jacks simplify configuring multi-instrument test setups.