How to Characterize Low-Power Integrated Circuits

Precision Source / Measure Unit
+ Precision Source / Measure Unit

Characterizing low-power ICs with a source measure unit

A conventional test setup for measuring the current / voltage characteristics of a low-power integrated circuit (IC) requires a variety of basic instruments. The setup includes multiple power supplies to supply the required voltage to various test ports with different voltage requirements and digital multimeters (DMMs) for measuring voltage and current. Some test cases require pulse generators for simulating signals and digitizers for capturing signals in the time domain.

Use a source measure unit (SMU) as a power supply and an ammeter, voltmeter, and digitizer to perform multi-channel synchronous current / voltage (IV) measurements. Set instrument self-calibration and accurate measurement range before any sleep current measurements, especially for ICs with precision levels below milliamps (mA). For accurate dynamic measurements, the SMU’s sampling rate must be fast enough to capture signals during the transition from sleep to active state.

IC Test Solution

Low-power IC characterization solution

Characterizing low-power ICs requires a variety of basic instruments including multiple power supplies, digital multimeters (DMMs), pulse generators, and digitizers. The Keysight low-power IC characterization solution includes the PZ2100 series SMU, offering 20 SMU channels in a 1U rack space with integrated pulser / digitizer, and the PW9251A PathWave IV Curve Measurement software. This solution enables you to perform IV characterizations under various operating conditions at extremely low current and voltage levels to validate your circuit’s design, identify any faults or issues, and optimize its performance.

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