Safe breakdown testing at up to 10 kV

March 20, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Keithley Instruments has introduced two high voltage power supplies for high voltage device and materials testing and high energy physics and materials science research. The Model 2290-5 5 kV and Model 2290-10 10 kV power supplies are suitable for high voltage breakdown testing of power semiconductor components.

This includes devices made of current- and next-generation wide-bandgap materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). Other options on the market for sourcing 10 kV lack many capabilities built into Series 2290. 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 supplies.

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 characterising very high voltage materials and devices, the Series 2290's maximum voltage output levels of either 5 kV or 10 kV complement Keithley's Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter Source Measure Unit (SMU) Instrument, which provides source voltages up to 3 kV. Series 2290 supplies can also be used in conjunction with test systems that include a Keithley Model 4200-SCS Parameter Analyser and/or Parametric Curve Tracer configurations for more complex applications that require testing at up to 10 kV.

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 1 VRMS; the Model 2290-5's is 100 mVRMS. Two selectable internal filters in the Model 2290-5 allow reducing its output ripple to only 3 mVRMS, the lowest noise output in the industry.

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 10 kV 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