Test throughput is one of the key factors that determine the final cost of a device or component. Given the expense of high-performance test equipment, measurement time should be minimized and test throughput maximized in order to keep test costs to a minimum, especially when characterizing low-cost devices such as diodes and transistors. An article from Keithley Instruments entitled "Increasing RF device test throughput with better instrument coordination" explains how choosing the right test equipment and connecting it properly can greatly influence the final measurement speed of a test setup.
Written by Keithley Senior Applications Engineer Mary Anne Tupta, the four-page article is available for free download from the company's web site. The article discusses the tradeoffs between multifunction instruments and separate testers, how to minimize communications overhead between instruments in a rack, proper triggering techniques, and how to synchronize different instruments for speed. The article includes examples for testing diodes and transistors with simple block diagrams depicting recommended measurement setups. For a free copy, visit the company's web site (see below).