IV Curve Measurement System
Part of the Institute of Physics award-winning Ossila Solar Cell Prototyping Platform, Ossila's IV Curve Measurement System is designed as a low-cost solution for reliable current-voltage measurements. We have developed a system for rapid, easy measurement of electrical devices by combining our source measure unit, push-fit and multiplexer test boards, and specifically designed software.
The system is available with either manual or automatic device switching (if you are using one of Ossila's substrate systems), or without a test board for use with your own substrate and testing system (or if you already own one of our test boards). The swivel-lids on our test boards allow for fast loading and unloading of devices, and provide reliable electrical contact with the spring-loaded contact pins. The system can supply voltages between -10 and +10 V with a resolution of 333 µV, and measure currents down to ±10 nA and up to ±100 mA, making it suitable for testing a wide range of devices.
Additionally, the software can automatically calculate key metrics of solar cells and perform lifetime tracking of these metrics. This enables rapid characterisation of photovoltaic devices, and makes it an easy-to-use tool for determining their long-term stability. This system is covered by our FREE 2-year warranty (please contact us for full details).
What is an IV Curve?
IV curves (or current-voltage curves) are a common method of characterising electrical devices. They reveal the relationship between the voltage applied across a device and the current flowing through it. This measurement can be used to determine the type of device being measured and how it operates. For example, the IV curves of resistors and diodes have very different shapes: in resistors the relationship between voltage and current is linear, whilst in diodes the relationship is exponential and current can only flow in one direction. Illustrative curves for both of these device types are shown below.
Many other properties of electrical devices can also be obtained from the analysis of IV curves. These include:
- Electrical resistance of a material
- Effect of temperature on resistors
- Turn-on voltage and power of LEDs
- Solar cell device metrics
The diagram below shows how different metrics can be extracted from the IV curve of a solar cell. Here, the short-circuit current (Isc) and the open-circuit voltage (Voc) are taken from the intercept at the y and x axis respectively. The fill factor (FF) can then be calculated by dividing the maximum power output of the device by the product of the Isc and the Voc (the potential maximum power).
For a more in-depth explanation about the characterisation of solar cells, check out our guide on solar cell theory and measurement.
|System Type||No Test Board||Manual||Multiplexer|
|±10 V Source Range|
|±333 μV Source Resolution|
|±100 mA Measurement Range|
|±10 nA Measurement Resolution|
|Automatic Solar Cell Characterisation|
|Single Device Solar Lifetime Measurement|
|For Use With S101, S211, or S171 Substrates|
|Automatic Device Switching|
|Multiple Devices Solar Lifetime Measurement|
The software that controls the system has been developed to make the IV Curve Measurement System a reliable, easy-to-use tool for the user. The system offers three different measurements:
- IV Measurement: Standard IV measurements
- Solar Characterisation: IV measurements with calculation of key metrics for solar cells
- Solar Lifetime: Periodic IV measurements with tracking of key metrics for solar cells
All of the measurements are completely customisable - with start and end voltages both able to be set anywhere between -10 to 10 V, and voltage increments up to 10 V and as low as 333 µV. A settle time between setting the voltage and measuring the current can be set, and the option for consecutive forwards and reverse voltage sweeps allows for device hysteresis to be measured.
The user interfaces for each measurement can be viewed by clicking the images below.
Data is saved to .csv (comma-separated values) files, which are formatted to be easy to read and analyse. Settings are saved along with the data, making it easier to keep a record of the parameters used for each experiment. These settings files can be loaded by the program, and settings profiles can be saved for each different measurement type, allowing repeat measurements or use of particular configurations to be performed with ease.
|Voltage Range||±100 μV to ±10 V|
|Current Range||10 nA to 100 mA|
|Substrate Size||20 mm x 15 mm|
|S101 (OLED substrates)|
|S211 (PV substrates)|
|S171 (Pixelated cathode substrates)|
|Overall Dimensions (T2002)||Source Measure Unit:
Width: 123 mm
Height: 40 mm
Depth: 165 mm
Width: 105 mm
Height: 40 mm
Depth: 125 mm
|Overall Dimensions (T2003)||Width: 140 mm
Height: 80 mm
Depth: 265 mm
|Supported Operating Systems||Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 (64 bit)|
|Minimum Monitor Resolution||1680 x 1050|
|Recommended Monitor Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Required Hard Drive Space||400 MB|
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To the best of our knowledge the technical information provided here is accurate. However, Ossila assume no liability for the accuracy of this information. The values provided here are typical at the time of manufacture and may vary over time and from batch to batch.