Modular picoammeter brings measurement of small currents into the 21st century
Able to measures dc current from 20 pA to 2 mA, The PocketPico SafeRanging picoammeter is said to be the first major innovation in this type of instrumentation since 2001, when a well-known north-central U.S. company introduced its most recent autoranging picoammeter. Although picoammeters have been around for about a century, they are even more relevant today, being needed for testing and characterizing optoelectronics, sensors, nanomaterials, and advanced ICs. The new meter’s design brings low-current measurement into the 21st century, not only in its modular form but also its operational performance.
For one thing, the meter eliminates potentially harmful voltage spikes associated with range switching. It does so by eliminating the need for mechanical relays used in earlier instruments through the use of logarithmic-compression conversion, a technique that is also capable of delivering 15,000 samples/s. The 8-oz instrument’s combination of 2.7 x 1.4 x 3.7-in. size and USB 2.0 interface is doubly beneficial: it allows for in-the-field measurement with a laptop computer (PC control software is included), and it also lets the instrument takes up less space on the test bench or in a manufacturing-floor ATE system.
In terms of measurement performance, the unit’s accuracy is 0.5% of reading, NIST traceable, with a minimum resolution of 100 fA. Its input voltage range is −1 to 4 Vdc, and signals are input through a standard BNC analog connector. Not the least-significant aspect of the meter is its price — at just under $1,200, it won’t require budgetary planning before a lab or factory can purchase one. ($1,199 — available now.)