A compact 45 kV curve tracer with picoampere current measurement capability

Sullivan, W. W.; Mauch, D.; Bullick, A.; Hettler, C.; Neuber, A.; Dickens, J.
March 2013
Review of Scientific Instruments;Mar2013, Vol. 84 Issue 3, p034702
Academic Journal
This paper discusses a compact high voltage curve tracer for high voltage semiconductor device characterization. The system sources up to 3 mA at up to 45 kV in dc conditions. It measures from 328 V to 60 kV with 15 V resolution and from 9.4 pA to 4 mA with 100 fA minimum resolution. Control software for the system is written in Microsoft Visual C# and features real-time measurement control and IV plotting, arc-protection and detection, an electrically isolated universal serial bus interface, and easy data exporting capabilities. The system has survived numerous catastrophic high voltage device-under-test arcing failures with no loss of measurement capability or system damage. Overall sweep times are typically under 2 min, and the curve tracer system was used to characterize the blocking performance of high voltage ceramic capacitors, high voltage silicon carbide photoconductive semiconductor switches, and high voltage coaxial cable.


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