Keithley Adds Low Current Capability to
SourceMeter Line for Fast, Compact, and Economical Parametric Testing
Cleveland, Ohio – September 13, 2007 -
Keithley Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:KEI), a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs,
announces two new additions to its Series 2600
SourceMeter® Instruments to create the industry's most advanced and cost effective solution for
semiconductor parametric analysis and testing. The Models 2635 and 2636 represent a new and unique
way of doing parametric analysis at resolutions as fine as 1fa (10-15 amp), which is often required
for many semiconductor, optoelectronic, and nanotechnology devices. Moreover, their
instrument-based, multi-channel architecture results in a 50 percent lower cost than typical
mainframe-based source-measure solutions. With their Test Script Processor (TSP™) and TSP-Link™
intercommunications bus, these new instruments enable engineers to quickly create fast test systems
that are ideal for research, characterization, wafer sort, reliability, production monitoring, and a
multitude of other test applications. For more information about the Series 2600 SourceMeter
The Models 2635 and 2636 provide cost-effective DC and pulse testing from femtoamps and
microvolts up to 200V/1.5A. They operate with or without a PC, providing test speeds up to four
times faster than typical mainframe-based source-measure solutions. Moreover, each includes a
PC-like microprocessor to enable easy programming and independent execution of test programs
(scripts) ranging from the simple to complex, including sourcing, measuring, test sequence flow
control, and decisions with conditional program branching. Since they can be easily integrated with
other instruments in automated systems, they will be very attractive to component manufacturers and
semiconductor fabricators for wafer level testing and packaged device testing. At the same time,
their low cost makes them attractive to researchers and academics in a wide variety of disciplines
that require fast and easy I-V characterization of devices and materials.
Easy Scalability for Lowest Cost of Ownership
The Models 2635 and 2636 enable users to significantly reduce their cost of test for low and
medium pin count devices or multiple devices and material samples. They operate as five precision
instruments in a single box: SMU (source-measure unit), DMM (digital multimeter), bias source, low
frequency pulse generator, and arbitrary waveform generator. These functions are controlled by TSP,
which enables fully programmable sequences to be downloaded and executed within the instrument. This
eliminates communications and PC overhead for critical throughput gains, while allowing complete
flexibility in controlling and adapting to different test situations.
In addition to TSP, Keithley's TSP-Link master/slave connection provides a high-speed,
low-latency interface to other TSP-based instruments, enabling simple multi-box and multi-instrument
software control. A major benefit is easy scalability of Series 2600 test systems according to
present and future needs. Multiple single-channel (Model 2635) units and dual-channel (Model 2636)
units can be integrated seamlessly without a host mainframe. This mainframeless scalability allows
system sizes up to 32 channels per GPIB address, while minimizing cost, rack space, and time
required when adding future channels. By using selected products in the Series 2600, users can
standardize on two or three SMU models to cover tests up to 10A pulse or 3A DC in a wide range of
applications. The SMUs can then be re-purposed by simply changing the test scripts they execute.
Shorter Test Times
All of Keithley's TSP-based systems are capable of storing and running thousands of lines of code
for predefined device tests that include limit comparisons, pass/fail decisions, parts binning,
etc., and they all work with or without a PC controller during test execution. Furthermore, their
digital I/O can directly control probers, handlers, and other instruments, while TSP-Link allows
users to execute high-speed automated tests across multiple channels and instruments without GPIB
traffic. This results in test time reductions as large as 10X compared to older sequencing
instruments; 2X to 4X test time reductions are common in component testing.
When the Models 2635 and 2636 are combined with Keithley's new Series 3700 System Switch/Multimeter
instruments, which also incorporate TSP and TSP-Link, an even broader range of high-speed
applications can be served. Together, these two product series provide the fundamental building
blocks that enable tightly integrated high-performance switching and multi-channel I-V measurements.
Test engineers can use them to easily create low-cost ATE systems optimized for high throughput in
applications such as semiconductor stress testing and functional packaged device tests.
Easy System Development
Historically, it has been a challenge to develop multi-instrument characterization or ATE systems
for basic R&D and high-speed production testing. Keithley solves this problem with two free software
tools that greatly simplify systemization of the Series 2600 SourceMeter Instruments. For R&D and
curve tracing applications, Keithley's LabTracer™ 2.0 software controls up to eight SourceMeter
Instrument channels to perform device characterization with no programming whatsoever. This software
allows the user to fully configure each channel, run device parameter tests, and plot test data -
simply and easily.
For high-speed production applications, the Test Script Processor is programmed with an
uncomplicated BASIC-style programming language that runs in real time on the instrument. The
intuitive, easy-to-use interface is compatible with all the popular programming languages. Keithley
provides built-in test scripts for sweeping, pulsing, waveform generation, and common component
tests. A number of test scripts are included in the instrument, while others can be downloaded at no
charge from http://www.keithley.com/. These pre-written factory test scripts can be used as supplied
or easily customized, allowing production users to get their systems up and running faster than
Users can develop custom test scripts in other ways, including a free programming tool called
Test Script Builder that helps users create, modify, debug, and store TSP scripts using its simple
command language. The user's scripts can be downloaded from the PC to the master SourceMeter
Instrument and saved in its non-volatile memory. Sixteen megabytes of total storage allows up to
50,000 lines of TSP code and more than 100,000 readings. Studies have shown that by using TSP and
its associated software, users can cut system development time by 50 to 75 percent compared to
previous generations of test sequencing instruments.
Keithley can also deliver the advantages of Series 2600 instruments within turnkey integrated
test systems driven by its Automated Characterization Suite (ACS). Series 2600 instruments enable
scalable source-measure channel counts and high-speed testing for a variety of semiconductor test
applications including wafer level reliability, on-wafer parametric die sort, and automated
characterization. For example, measurements requiring unprecedented measurement speeds such as
on-the-fly NBTI can be made sequentially or in parallel with test plans at the device, wafer, or
cassette level. The flexibility and user-friendliness of ACS enables full control of the system
instruments, provides a powerful wafer description utility, allows semiautomatic and fully automatic
prober control, permits test plan automation, and gives in-depth results analysis. ACS takes
advantage of the Series 2600 flexibility, resulting in automated systems that only Keithley can
Price and Availability. Pricing for the single-channel Model 2635 starts at $8,495.00
(US); the dual-channel Model 2636 pricing starts at $13,995.00 (US). Availability is about six weeks
ARO, effective immediately.
For More Information
For information on Keithley's Series 2600 System SourceMeter Instruments, visit
contact the company at:
Telephone: 800-688-9951 440-248-0400
Address: Keithley Instruments, Inc.
28775 Aurora Road
Cleveland, OH 44139-1891
About Keithley Instruments, Inc.
With more than 60 years of measurement expertise, Keithley Instruments has
become a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems from DC to RF (radio
frequency). Our products solve emerging measurement needs in production testing, process monitoring,
product development, and research. Our customers are scientists and engineers in the worldwide
electronics industry involved with advanced materials research, semiconductor device development and
fabrication, and the production of end products such as portable wireless devices. The value we
provide them is a combination of precision measurement technology and a rich understanding of their
applications to improve the quality of their products and reduce their cost of test.
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