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National Instruments (NI) has introduced 10 PXI products that expand the capabilities of PXI for mixed-signal semiconductor tests.

The suite of new software-defined products, optimised for use with the NI Labview graphical system design software, includes four high-speed digital input/output (HSDIO) instruments, two digital switches, two enhanced radio-frequency (RF) instruments, a high-precision source measure unit (SMU) and specialised digital vector file importing software.

The new NI PXI semiconductor suite incorporates a variety of features, including 200MHz single-ended digital input/output (I/O), 10pA current resolution, rapid multiband RF measurements, DC/digital switching and Waveform Generation Language (WGL) and IEEE 1450 Standard Test Interface Language (STIL) file importing capability.

The PXI semiconductor suite continues the enhancement of PXI capabilities for testing common semiconductor devices such as analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs), digital-to-analogue converters (DACs), power-management ICs, wireless ICs and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices.

As a result of its breadth of advanced functionality, the suite delivers higher throughput, greater flexibility and faster development time compared to the traditional box instrumentation and automatic test equipment solutions often used for characterisation, validation and production test of these semiconductor devices.

David Whitley, evaluation engineer at Analog Devices, said: ‘The new suite of mixed-signal PXI instrumentation from NI allows me to import WGL and STIL design vectors to validate digital protocols and critical timing parameters of our IC designs.

‘PXI and Labview provide us a flexible, mixed-signal characterisation platform that we use to quickly configure custom tests and lower our overall product development time and evaluation costs,’ he added.

The NI PXIe-654x range of HSDIO instruments includes four new modules that offer single-ended clock rates up to 200MHz and data rates up to 400Mbps, making it possible for engineers to test high-speed chip designs and accommodate faster custom communication protocols.

Advanced digital modules in this range include several additional features such as bidirectional communication, real-time bit comparison, a double data-rate capability, multiple timing delays for different I/O lines and the ability to select from 22 different voltage levels, from 1.2V to 3.3V, for increased digital I/O test flexibility.

These new digital I/O devices expand the NI PXI-654x, PXI-655x and PXI-656x series high-speed digital offerings to a total of 10 PXI instruments with single-ended and LVDS voltage capabilities up to 200MHz.

The new NI PXI-4132 high-precision SMU delivers current sensitivity down to 10pA for high-resolution current measurements.

It features remote (four-wire) sensing and external guarding on a single output to provide up to +/-100V capability in a single PXI slot.

The SMU also offers several other advancements including an onboard hardware sequencing engine for hardware-timed, high-speed curve traces and the ability to trigger and synchronise multiple PXI-4132 SMUs over the PXI backplane.

The PXI-4132 complements the existing NI PXI-4130 power SMU, which provides a four-quadrant, 40W output (+/-20V, +/-2A) to deliver high-precision and high-power source measure options for PXI.

The new NI PXI-2515 and NI PXIe-2515 digital switches further enhance the suite of PXI products by helping engineers to multiplex precision DC instrumentation directly onto HSDIO lines connected to the chip under test.

The new switches also provide improved signal connectivity for parametric measurements while maintaining signal integrity on high-speed digital edges.

The new NI PXIe-5663E and NI PXIe-5673E 6.6 GHz RF PXI Express vector signal analyser and vector signal generator offer increased measurement speed through fast and deterministic changes in RF configurations using a new feature called RF List Mode to reduce test time.

The new functionality makes it possible for engineers to download preconfigured instrument parameters to rapidly cycle through different RF configurations.

This is useful when testing power amplifiers and other RFICs that require verifying performance across multiple frequencies.

This added functionality can help RF engineers perform multiband RF measurements faster than with traditional instruments.

The PXI semiconductor suite also introduces a solution for efficiently importing WGL and STIL digital vector formats to streamline design-to-test integration when using NI PXI high-speed digital products.

The result of collaboration between NI and Test Systems Strategies (TSSI), the new TSSI TD-Scan for NI software makes it possible for semiconductor test engineers to import WGL and STIL simulation vectors into PXI systems – a task that previously required custom software development.

An evaluation version of the WGL/STIL software tool, which supports all NI PXI-654x, PXI-655x and PXI-656x HSDIO series of products, is available through the NI website.

A full version is available for purchase directly from TSSI.

National Instruments

National Instruments transforms the way engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype and deploy systems for test, control and embedded design applications. Using NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and modular hardware, customers at more than 30,000 companies annually simplify development, increase productivity and dramatically reduce time to market. From testing next-generation gaming systems to creating breakthrough medical devices to controlling autonomous vehicles, NI customers continuously develop innovative technologies that impact millions of people’s lives.

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