Power semiconductors are exposed to thermo-mechanical stress during their functional use in application. The stress occurs due to power cycling and thermal cycling of the device, which results in its aging, and eventually the device will fatigue and may ultimately fail. Hence, reliability characterization of power semiconductor devices is of paramount importance during the development of new devices. To improve the reliability and operating safety of power electronic systems, knowledge about aging mechanisms and failure mechanisms is crucial. Performing life tests on power semiconductors requires significant development effort for a test apparatus to provide the required functionality.
This work presents a modular test system (MTS) architecture which focuses on flexibility, reusability and adaptability for future test requirements. It discusses essential requirements for performing sophisticated life tests. Different types of tests for different devices which are all implemented based on the same MTS concept, are introduced. Specifically, the distinction between device- and application-specific types of hardware setup, is explained.
Vital parameters of the DUT can be acquired in situ during the running stress test. This enables the collection of drift data of these parameters.
The control and data acquisition parts of the test system are clearly separated from the actual test circuit. With this physical separation, the same control unit can be used for different types of tests. Two examples of realized test systems which are based on the MTS concept are comprehensively illustrated.
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