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NEWS BLOG: Latest Automated Characterization Suite Software Release Adds More Muscle for Power Semiconductor Devices and WLR Tes

By:  Steve Greer, Director of Product Management and Marketing at Keithley, a Tektronix Company


Anybody who has ever put in time at the gym knows that getting into shape is an ongoing commitment. The same principle applies to Keithley’s commitment to semiconductor device characterization and parametric testing. To keep test system users moving forward and strengthening their capabilities, we continue to invest in Keithley’s Automated Characterization Suite (ACS) software.

The need to improve energy efficiency is driving new semiconductor technologies associated with power generation, distribution, and consumption. New materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) require new measurements and in-depth characterization in the R&D phase before they can be fully commercialized. In response to these new requirements, we’ve enhanced the latest release of ACS (version 5.2) with more testing support for the development and characterization of semiconductor power devices and wafer level reliability (WLR) testing for device development and process quality improvement. These enhancements increase the flexibility of the software and support a broader range of applications. For example, we’ve added high voltage capacitance-voltage (C-V) measurement libraries. These libraries provide the tools needed to characterize power semiconductor devices fully, including multiple capacitance values within multi-terminal DUTs.

In addition, the VDS WLR sample project provided in ACS now supports the Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter® Source Measure Unit (SMU) Instrument’s ability to source or sink up to 3,000V. This allows ACS-based systems to include the Model 2657A to address a broader range of tests and DUTs. We’ve also added support for the new 10kV Model 2290 Power Supply for the same purpose. Finally, we’ve enhanced the looping functions and the graphical user interface for WLR testing to help device development and process quality engineers create more powerful tests with a simpler GUI approach. By reducing test development time and helping these engineers execute a broader range of device reliability tests, we’re boosting R&D productivity.

ACS, first introduced in 2007, is a flexible, interactive software test environment designed for semiconductor device characterization, reliability test, parametric test, and component functional test. It’s designed to address a broad range of use cases, from in-depth interactive manual measurements to measurements with automatic wafer probers. ACS supports a wide range of Keithley instrumentation, as well as Keithley's S500 and S530 Parametric Test systems.



To learn more about ACS software and the instrumentation it supports, visit or feel free to ask a question in the comments section below.



About the author: Steve Greer is a director of product management and marketing at Keithley Instruments, which is part of the Tektronix test and measurement portfolio. In this role, he has led Keithley’s systems business, managing product life cycle, marketing, business development, and financial results. Prior to joining Keithley, he was a product line manager and marketing director at Acterna (now JDSU).