Keithley I-V Tracer software brings many of the features loved in classic curve tracers to Keithley SourceMeter Source Measure Units (SMU). Because an SMU can source voltage or current while measuring voltage and current, it has similar hardware qualities to a curve tracer.
The new software leverages the touchscreen interface of 2400 Series Graphical SMUs to recreate the familiar user experience of a curve tracer for low-power two-terminal devices. I-V Tracer uses the full capabilities of supported SMUs, including the dual high-speed digitizers of the 2461, to perform tracing with ac polarity and pulsed dc, in addition to standard dc polarity. This maps to the classic Tektronix 576 curve tracer introduced in 1969, for example, that had +dc, -dc, and ac polarities, which means the output is either +voltage, -voltage, or both + and – voltages.
Keithley I-V Tracer software leverages the touchscreen interface of 2400 Series Graphical SMUs to recreate the familiar user experience of a curve tracer for low-power two-terminal devices.
Rather than pooling resources for shared, outdated equipment, labs can now equip individual engineers with their own I-V curve tracer. Keithley SMUs are portable and fit easily on test benches, as shown in the comparison with a 370B below. Moreover, users still have all the source, sink and measure capabilities of Keithley SMUs with curve tracer functionality a click or tap away. It’s also easy to export curves or screenshots, and there’s no need to scour on-line listings for spare parts.
An SMU with Keithley I-V Tracer software is a fraction the size of a classic curve tracer.
When it comes to failure analysis of semiconductor devices, curve tracers are widely used in part because they provide precise control and immediate results. If you source too much power through a device, it’s possible to destroy the sensitive evidence that points to the root cause of failure. I-V Tracer simulates this functionality by providing direct control over the output level, letting failure analysis (FA) engineers slowly ramp up to an I-V curve anomaly then seamlessly creep into the behavior, with a minimum of 500 nV (or 500 fA) resolution on the sourced output.
In addition to failure analysis, curve tracers have long been considered a must-have in engineering classrooms for their simplicity in allowing students to directly apply their learning to electrical devices. I-V Tracer with an SMU offers the same benefit, giving real-time, direct control to students allowing them to experiment themselves and solidify understanding on a wide range of electronics.
Priced at $1,499 plus the cost of the SMU, Keithley I-V Tracer represents a cost-effective way to gain all the usability benefits of a classic curve tracer without the burden that comes with trying to maintain a vintage instrument. For more information, go to: tek.com/keithley-i-v_tracer.