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Keithley Instruments has announced its ACS Basic Edition software now supports a broader line of source-measure (SMU) instrumentation.

This broader choice of compatible instruments should prove especially useful in expanding the software’s voltage and current limits available for testing solar cells, photovoltaic panels and discrete power semiconductors.

ACS Basic Edition combines high-speed hardware control, device connectivity and data management into an easy-to-use tool optimised for part verification, debugging and analysis.

With the introduction of Version 1.1, ACS Basic Edition – a member of Keithley’s Automated Characterization Suite (ACS) family – can now support a far broader range of DC voltage and current-test capabilities.

It is compatible with the company’s full SMU offering, the broadest array of choices in the industry.

Depending on the SMU selected, ACS Basic Edition supports sourcing and measuring up to 5A or 1100V DC on individual channels.

The newly expanded source and measure ranges are especially useful for tests on evolving photovoltaic panels/solar cells and high-power electronics in research, failure analysis and inspection applications.

ACS Basic Edition now also supports the combination of different SMU models into a single test, allowing easier configuration, test creation and test execution, without the need to write code.

Keithley developed ACS Basic Edition to maximise the productivity of technicians and engineers responsible for packaged part characterisation in applications ranging from early device research through development, quality verification and failure analysis.

It is delivered complete with a library of pre-configured component test routines to minimise start-up time, reduce the need for code development and simplify the component-testing process.

Even novice users can test a semiconductor component in seconds and immediately compare the characteristic curves with reference curves.

Much like a traditional analogue curve tracer, ACS Basic Edition can generate a family of curves on a packaged part quickly but also offers the flexibility to save, compare and correlate results easily.

Version 1.1 of the package provides a variety of new and enhanced capabilities.

For example, the software now supports the combination of hardware from any of Keithley’s SMU families into a single test, including Series 2600 and 2600A System Sourcemeter instruments, Series 2400 Sourcemeter instruments, the Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, and the Model 237 High-Voltage SMU.

Now users can test with a variety of SMU instrumentation optimised for a device’s specific current and voltage requirements.

A new communication settings window allows the configuration of a variety of external GPIB instrumentation, such as a switch matrix and capacitance-voltage (C-V) meter into an ACS Basic Edition system.

This simplifies the productive use of additional measurement hardware that users may already have in their labs.

ACS Basic Edition now includes tools that help organise tests by devices and instruments so it is easy to save test algorithms and recall them for later use or modification.

A new Saved Test Info dialogue box allows the selection of instrument models with which the test will be associated on the test-selection window.

With this feature, users can organise their tests as they collect important data or update their test method.

Enhancements to the test-selection dialogue include a new ‘Generic’ device option, an improved user-defined device function, and a new instrument-models listbox that includes all the instruments scanned by the software at startup.

Improvements to the data tab of all individual device tests simplify data visualisation by allowing all the data the user wants to include in a plot to be incorporated at one time.

The script editor has been enhanced to make script development and organisation more powerful for a number of different test-module types.

Users now have direct access to the XRCed GUI development tool, which lets them build GUIs for custom test modules written in either Python or Test Script Processor (TSP) languages.

TSP scripts work with Series 2600, Series 2600A and Model 3706 instruments.

Python scripts are used to communicate via GPIB to any of these instruments, as well as any general-purpose hardware that users want to control.

Keithley Instruments

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