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Breakdown Testing at up to 10kV

Keithley-229020 March 2014 - Keithley Instruments introduced two high voltage power supplies optimized for high voltage device and materials testing and high energy physics and materials science research. The Model 2290-5 5kV Power Supply and Model 2290-10 10kV Power Supply are well suited for high voltage breakdown testing of power semiconductor components. This includes devices made of current- and next-generation wide-bandgap materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN), designed for use in "green", energy-efficient power generation and transmission systems and hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

Other options on the market for sourcing 10kV lack many capabilities built into Series 2290 Power Supplies. For example, some don't include a communication interface as standard equipment, don't offer an available protection module, or produce significantly higher output ripple than the Series 2290 Power Supplies. One popular 10kV sourcing solution requires purchasing a complete chassis-based semiconductor test system, then adding a voltage expander, which means it costs 12 times more than the Model 2290-10. This solution, designed for characterization of power components, also can't address the high voltage sourcing requirements of researchers in the basic sciences.

In contrast, Series 2290 Power Supplies are stand-alone voltage sourcing instruments that make it economical to create a high voltage test solution. For materials researchers and semiconductor device developers involved in creating and characterizing very high voltage materials and devices, the Series 2290's maximum voltage output levels of either 5kV or 10kV complement Keithley's Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter(r) Source Measure Unit (SMU) Instrument, which provides source voltages up to 3kV. Series 2290 Power Supplies can also be used in conjunction with test systems that include a Keithley Model 4200-SCS Parameter Analyzer and/or Parametric Curve Tracer configurations for more complex applications that require testing at up to 10kV.

Industry's Lowest Noise Performance

When making leakage current or high resistivity measurements with sensitive measurement instruments, a power supply with low output noise is essential. Both Series 2290 power supplies' extremely low noise performance allows sensitive instruments to measure current accurately down to picoamp levels. The Model 2290-10's maximum output ripple is less than 1VRMS; the Model 2290-5's is just 100mVRMS. Two selectable internal filters in the Model 2290-5 allow reducing its output ripple to only 3mVRMS, the lowest noise output in the industry.

Enhanced Safety for Both Users and Sensitive Instruments

To prevent overvoltage damage to lower voltage instrumentation configured into the same test system as a Series 2290 Power Supply, Keithley has also introduced the Model 2290-PM-200 10kV Protection Module. When low voltage instruments, such as many of Keithley's SMU instruments, are used in a high voltage test circuit with a Series 2290 power supply to make accurate leakage current measurements, the protection module safely clamps the voltage across the sensitive instrument to a maximum value of 200V, even if the device under test (DUT) breaks down and effectively becomes a short. The power supplies, the protection module, sensitive instrumentation, and Keithley software and accessories bring together all the elements needed to create a safe, high voltage test environment.

Both Series 2290 power supplies have a built-in interlock circuit to disable the output voltage if a high voltage test fixture's access door is not closed, a critical feature not available in all competing products. In addition, they have low voltage analog outputs to allow for safe monitoring of the high voltage and the output current. Keithley has developed LabVIEW and IVI drivers for the Series 2290 to speed and simplify test system development. The IEEE-488 interface provided standard in the Series 2290 simplifies creating automated high voltage test systems and enhances safety by allowing the high voltage instrumentation to be controlled remotely.

Low Current Output Capabilities

In addition to their high voltage outputs, the Model 2290-5 can output up to 5mA of current (25W) and the Model 2290-10 can output up to one milli-amp (10W). Both offer one micro-amp current measurement resolution. The front panels of these instruments provide voltage and current output displays, as well as a third display that shows the user's choice of four settings: output voltage, voltage limit, current limit, or current trip.


In addition to high voltage breakdown testing, applications for Series 2290 Power Supplies include high energy basic science research, including voltage component and materials testing, insulation testing, and high voltage resistivity measurements. Physicists and material scientists will find them valuable for applications that involve studying radiation properties and effects, studying and using particle beams, and studying material structures.

The new power supplies are immediately available from Keithley sales partners.

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