Electronics & Computers

Keithley Introduces Dual-Channel Picoammeter

October 16, 2012

The picoammeter/voltage source has ultra-low current resolution is intended for applications involving the characterization of electronic materials and devices.

CLEVELAND, OH -- Keithley Instruments, Inc., a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems, expands its low level measurement leadership by introducing a dual-channel picoammeter with dual ±30 V independent, non-floating bias sources and 1 fA measurement resolution.

The Model 6482 Picoammeter, the latest addition to Keithley's popular line of sensitive instrumentation, provides two independent picoammeter/source channels in a 2U, half-rack enclosure, allowing simultaneous 6-1/2-digit measurements across both channels. It offers twice the channel density available from other high speed, high accuracy picoammeters for easier control and data aggregation and a lower cost of ownership, as well as higher measurement accuracy (±1% on the 2 nA range) and a wider dynamic range (1 fA to 20 mA) than competing single-channel picoammeter/source combinations. At 4-1/2-digit resolution, users can take up to 900 readings/second on each channel.

Wide Dynamic Measurement Range
The Model 6482 offers low current measurement ranges from 2 nA to 20 mA in decade steps.

This wide measurement range ensures high sensitivity and resolution for the growing number of low current applications that require making measurements at multiple points simultaneously.

High Accuracy Dark Current Measurements
The Model 6482's 2 nA current measurement range is ideal for measuring dark currents and other low currents with 1 fA resolution. Once the level of dark current has been determined, the instrument's REL function automatically subtracts the dark current as an offset so the measured values are more accurate for optical power measurements. For measuring the dark currents of photodiodes or other light-sensitive components, the Model 6482's front panel display can be switched off to avoid introducing light that would interfere with getting accurate results.

Ratio and Delta Measurements
The Model 6482 can provide ratio or delta measurements between the two completely isolated channels. These functions can be accessed via the front panel or the GPIB interface. For test setups with multiple detectors, this capability enables targeted control capabilities.

Interface Options
To speed and simplify system integration and control when building multi-instrument test systems that require tightly coupled sourcing and measurement, the Model 6482 provides the Trigger Link feature, as well as standard GPIB and RS-232 interfaces. The Trigger Link feature combines six independent software selectable trigger lines on a single connector for simple, direct control over all instruments in a system. This feature is especially useful for reducing total test time if the test involves a sweep. To make it easier to transfer measurement results from the Model 6482 to other instruments, a scaled 0–10 V analog output simplifies transmitting data to DMMs, data acquisition boards, oscilloscopes, strip chart recorders, and other devices.

Programmable Limits and Filters
The Model 6482's current and voltage limits can be programmed to ensure device protection during critical points such as start of test, etc. It also provides Average and Median filters, which can be applied to the data stored in each channel's separate 3000-point buffer memory.

Adjustable Noise Protection Options
For applications that demand the highest measurement sensitivity, the Model 6482 has rear panel triax inputs for making triaxial cable connections to minimize electrical noise. For less stringent applications, the included triax-to-BNC adapters allow making connections with less costly BNC cables.

Wide Range of Applications
The Model 6482 is suitable for a wide range of applications related to characterizing electronic materials and devices designed for low current operation in laboratory, R&D, and manufacturing settings. Applications include:

  • Manufacturing component test
  • Dual diode testing
  • Semiconductor component testing
  • Multi-pin component testing
  • Dark current measurements
  • Ion beam monitoring
  • Electron microscopy

Pricing and Availability
The U.S. list price of the Model 6482 Dual-Channel Picoammeter/Voltage Source is $3600, with sales beginning immediately. Units will ship from stock or within four weeks ARO.

About Keithley Instruments
With more than 60 years of measurement expertise, Keithley Instruments Inc. has become a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems. Our customers are scientists and engineers in the worldwide electronics industry involved with advanced materials research, semiconductor device development and fabrication, and the production of end products such as portable wireless devices. The value we provide them is a combination of products for their critical measurement needs and a rich understanding of their applications to improve the quality of their products and reduce their cost of test. In 2010, Keithley Instruments joined Tektronix as part of its test and measurement portfolio.

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