ModuLab-MTS System for the Electrical Characterization of Materials By Solartron

The ModuLab MTS is a new concept in testing the electrical properties of materials. The system uniquely combines time domain tests (I-V, pulse, ramp), and AC tests (C-V, Mott-Schottky, impedance, permittivity), together with a wide range of modules providing high voltage, high current resolution, sample / reference measurements. Temperature control and sample holder accessories add to the capabilities of the system.
The following table summarizes some of the key features and applications of the system.

ModuLab-MTS systems comprise a chassis with power supply and display panel, and with either four or eight available slots, into which ModuLab-MTS modules may be inserted. As a minimum the system is fitted with one or more MAT-1MHz "core" modules; each of these in turn can then support one or more accessory cards, which include a frequency response analyzer, power booster, high voltage cards, femto ammeter for measuring very weak signal currents, and a sample-reference switch card used to get the best possible results when measuring dielectric materials.

The system is controlled via an Ethernet interface from a PC running Windows XP or Vista using the powerful ModuLab-MTS operating software. A large selection of test types is provided, from standard open circuit, I-V, pulse, C-V, mott-Schottky, to complete multistep sequences that can include sample temperature control using a cryostat or high temperature furnace.

System Components

Model MAT-1MHz Core Module - includes ModuLab-MTS software for PC
The core of the ModuLab-MTS system is the MAT core module which makes use of the latest Digital Signal Processor (DSP) technology to provide accurate experiment control, high-speed data acquisition, data averaging and responsive safety and step limit detection. The MAT module provides:

  • Smooth waveform generation using high sample rates (64 MS/s) and interpolation filtering to deliver the accuracy, stability and control of digital waveform technology with the smoothness of analogue techniques.
  • High-speed data acquisition up to 1 MS/s used for pulse and fast swept voltage I-V techniques.
  • High bandwidth for accurate and reliable high-speed I-V, pulse and impedance measurements at all frequencies and impedance levels (using the MFRA option).
  • Floating electrode capability for measurements on grounded samples
  • Flexible experiment sequencing that allows high data acquisition rates at those specific points in the experiment where measurement speed is needed, e.g. for pulse analysis or high speed I-V. Instantaneous switching between experiment techniques e.g. C-V, I-V, pulse, impedance etc, provides a great deal of flexibility for defining experiment protocols for testing a wide range of materials.


Model MFRA Frequency Response Analyzer - upper frequency 1 MHz
The MFRA frequency response analyzer used in the ModuLab-MTS system provides impedance, admittance, permittivity, electrical modulus, C-V and Mott-Schottky analysis using multiple measurement techniques across its entire frequency range (from 10 ìHz to 1 MHz):

  • Single sine correlation provides unbeatable measurement accuracy and repeatability. Thousands of research papers have been written around the use of Solartron impedance analyzer technology. The MFRA takes impedance measurement performance to a higher level by combining the best quality analog hardware design with the latest generation high-speed Digital Signal Processor (DSP) technology to provide high speed and accuracy (1 MHz to 10 Hz, 10 points / decade in just five seconds).
  • Multi-sine / Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis provides even faster measurement by stimulating and measuring multiple user selectable frequencies at the same time. This is especially useful for fast low frequency analysis and for measurements of timevariant or unstable cells. Multi-sine / FFT measurements are so fast that they can often be taken before the sample response changes.
  • Harmonic Analysis utilizes the FFT analysis technique together with single or multiple frequency stimulation in order to investigate linearity and distortion.
  • C-V (capacitance vs. DC voltage) and Mott-Schottky measurements may be performed using single sine or multisine techniques over the full frequency range.

Model MHV 100 High Voltage Booster Module - maximum output ± 100 V
The standard MAT core module provides up to ±8 V stimulus to the sample. For many applications however, higher voltage is needed, for example when testing high impedance insulator materials.

The MAT option works together with the MHV to provide ultra-smooth swept voltage, I-V, DC, and pulse waveforms over the extended voltage range of ±100 V and automatically attenuates the sample voltage for MAT core measurement.

The MHV can also supply up to 100 V peak AC waveforms for impedance analysis by amplifying the output of the MFRA module. DC and AC signals can be combined for high voltage C-V, Mott-Schottky, capacitance and impedance analysis.

Model MBST High Current Booster Module - maximum output ± 2 A
The standard MAT core module is able to provide current output of up to ±100 mA. For some applications higher current levels may be required, for example for characterization of semiconductors when biased in the on region, or for testing superconductors.

The MBST option provides up to ±2 A current output combined with reduced output impedance. This makes it much easier for the system to measure the voltage drop across the sample, providing impedance resolution in the 10 ìÙ region.


Model MREF Sample/Reference Option
The MREF sample / reference option provides improved accuracy AC measurements of dielectric samples by first measuring the sample and then measuring a known calibrated reference capacitor of similar impedance, using identical cables. The reference capacitor measurements provide information about the systematic errors due to connection cables and measurement circuits, which is used to cancel similar errors on the sample material measurement.

Multiple calibrated reference capacitors are provided internally with this option to provide a close match to the sample impedance. Calibrated external references can also be used if required.


Model MFA Module
The standard MAT core module has 1 pA current resolution. This is sufficient for many types of materials but for more demanding applications, for example for insulators, dielectrics, ceramics, nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes) and semiconductors, more sensitive current measurement resolution may be needed. The MFA femto ammeter option is designed to resolve extremely low current levels to 150 aA.

The MFA option may be used in combination with the MHV high voltage option or an external ultra high voltage amplifier to measure extremely high impedance materials (>100 Tohms).

The MFA option also works well with the MREF option for improved accuracy and repeatability.

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