Keithley Introduces Source-Measure Unit with a Capacitive Touch Screen

August 14, 2013. Keithley Instruments today announced a source measure unit (SMU) instrument with a capacitive touch-screen graphical user interface. The Model 2450 SourceMeter SMU combines the intuitive touch screen and icon-based control that novice SMU users can appreciate with the versatility that experienced users need to learn faster, work smarter, and invent easier.

The Model 2450’s design, Keithley’s latest generation of SMU instruments, offers a fundamentally new way for users to interact with test and measurement instruments. It is based on the company’s innovative “Touch, Test, Invent” design philosophy.

The Model 2450 builds on the design strengths and high precision of both the Model 2400 SourceMeter SMU (an industry standard since its 1995 introduction) and the newer Series 2600B System SourceMeter SMU line. The Model 2450 combines the functionality of a power supply, true current source, 6½ -digit multimeter, electronic load, and trigger controller in one tightly integrated, half-rack instrument. With all of these capabilities, the Model 2450 integrates the capabilities of I-V systems, curve tracers, and semiconductor analyzers at a fraction of their cost.

Benchtop Application Advantages

Many of the Model 2450’s features help speed and simplify lab/bench-top work:

  • Full-color, 5-inch touch-screen user interface. The full-color display and large on-screen characters enhance legibility. A simple, icon-based menu structure allows reaching any measurement set-up panel with just a touch.
  • Extended measurement ranges with superior low-current performance. The new low current (100-nA and 10 nA) and voltage (20-mV) ranges eliminate the need to add separate low-level instruments to a benc-htop system. Back-panel triax cable connections eliminate the need for expensive cable adaptors, which can degrade low-level measurement performance.
  • Built-in context-sensitive help function. Help information is provided right where it’s needed through the touch-screen, minimizing the need to review a manual.
  • Error and event logging: The touch-screen displays error messages and an event log to simplify diagnosing instrument errors, for higher productivity.
  • KickStart start-up software. This “no-programming” instrument control software simplifies taking and graphing data in minutes. For more complex analyses, data can be easily stored to disk and then exported to Microsoft Excel or another software environment.

System-Level Application Advantages

Several features simplify integrating the Model 2450 into automated test systems:

  • Embedded Test Script Processor (TSP). An onboard Test Script Processor embeds complete test programs into non-volatile memory within the instrument itself to provide higher test throughput by eliminating the GPIB traffic problems common to systems dependent on an external PC controller.
  • TSP-Link inter-unit communication bus. Unlike users of mainframe-based systems, Model 2450 users are not constrained by power or channel count limitations. TSP-Link connections support system expansion with multiple 2450s and other TSP instruments, including Series 2600B SMU instruments and the Model 3706A Switch/Multimeter. Up to 32 Model 2450 instruments can be linked for multi-point or multi-channel parallel test, under the direction of a master unit’s TSP controller.
  • Model 2400 legacy mode. In addition to its native 2450 SCPI operating mode, the Model 2450 offers a 2400 SCPI operating mode for backward compatibility with existing 2400 SCPI programs. This preserves Model 2400 users’ software investments and eliminates the re-work normally associated with upgrading a system with a new instrument.
  • PC connectivity and automation. Rear panel triax connectors, multiple instrument communication interfaces (GPIB, USB 2.0, and LXI/Ethernet), a D-sub 9-pin digital I/O port (for internal/external trigger signals and handler control), instrument interlock control, and TSP-Link jacks simplify configuring multi-instrument test setups.

The US list price of the Model 2450 is $5,400; a version without a front panel designed for integration into automated systems is available for $5,100.

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