Measure Bi-Polar DC Current: 9103 USB Picoammeter

The 9103 USB Picoammeter available from RBD Instruments is a robust, cost-effective, portable, and ASCII-programmable instrument for measuring bi-polar DC current ranging from picoamps to milliamps. The instrument can be biased using an optional integrated fixed +90V DC bias, or your own low-noise DC power supply.

For Microsoft Windows, data logging and graphing software are included. The 9103 is compatible w/OSx, LabView, Matlab, and Linux. A simple ASCII interface can be used to control the 9103.

The 9103 USB Picoammeter functions well even in noisy environments. It has been developed for measuring ion and electron beams, as well as for IC I/V and diode characterization. The 9103 is multi-channel capable—up to 127 channels can be synchronized.

The 9103 USB Picoammeter now comes in four configurations:

  • Standard—sample rate of 40 reads/second
  • High-voltage—sample rate of 40 reads/second, floats up to 5 kV DC*
  • High-speed—sample rate of 500 reads/second
  • High-speed/High-voltage—sample rate of 500 reads/second and floats up to 5 kV DC*

The Standard and High-speed models are available with two bias options:

  • External—BNC bias input
  • +90 V Fixed

*High-voltage supply provided by user.

*Bias options are not available in the High-voltage version.


  • Dark current and photodiode current measurements
  • Ion and electron current measurements (up to 127 devices simultaneously)
  • Comparisons of data logging current
  • Direct measurement of output from electron multiplier (including HV option)
  • Monitoring beams and particles
  • Mass spectrometer current measurements
  • Testing of leakage current
  • Measurement of high resistance (with HV option)
  • Materials resistance testing

9103 USB Picoammeter


  • Accurate current measurement, in the ranges of 2 nA to 2 mA and 0.001 nA to 2.499 mA
  • Interval or Single Sampling—users can take samples of current at timed intervals of 25–9999 ms per point
  • Programmability—ASCII command interface for user-defined testing and automation, and integration with third-party instrumentation software
  • Automatic Input Grounding (prevents specimen stage from charging on vacuum spectrometers and electron microscopes)
  • Optional high-speed sampling (500 reads/second)
  • Auto or Manual Range—automatic or manual selection of range
  • Optional 5 kV DC isolation
  • Optional Bias—Users can use their own isolated voltage source to quantify current vs. voltage or a fixed bias of +90 V

Application Notes

Actuel Data Logging and Graphing Application

Actuel is RBD's 9103 control and data acquisition application, offering the interface required for the new 9103 Picoammeter. The application includes a control and displays medium for the Picoammeter and an interface that enables data sampling and recording (data logging). In addition, the software offers a console for accessing sophisticated features of the Picoammeter, such as diagnostics and calibration.

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