A 500 A device characterizer utilizing a pulsed-linear amplifier

Shelby Lacouture, Stephen Bayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the advent of modern power semiconductor switching elements, the envelope defining "high power" is an ever increasing quantity. Characterization of these semiconductor power devices generally falls into two categories: Switching, or transient characteristics, and static, or DC characteristics. With the increasing native voltage and current levels that modern power devices are capable of handling, characterization equipment meant to extract quasi-static IV curves has not kept pace, often leaving researchers with no other option than to construct ad hoc curve tracers from disparate pieces of equipment. In this paper, a dedicated 10 V, 500 A curve tracer was designed and constructed for use with state of the art high power semiconductor switching and control elements. The characterizer is a physically small, pulsed power system at the heart of which is a relatively high power linear amplifier operating in a switched manner in order to deliver well defined square voltage pulses. These actively shaped pulses are used to obtain device's quasi-static DC characteristics accurately without causing any damage to the device tested. Voltage and current waveforms from each pulse are recorded simultaneously by two separate high-speed analog to digital converters and averaged over a specified interval to obtain points in the reconstructed IV graph.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025108
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


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