Picoammeter uses new measurement technique - Embedded.com

Picoammeter uses new measurement technique

Ix Innovations has released the PocketPico SafeRanging picoammeter – a low current ammeter that measures DC current from 20pA to 2mA with the grand claim that this is the first major innovation in this space since the Keithley model 6485 auto-ranging picoammeter in 2001.

With the PocketPico picoammeter, Ix uses a fundamentally different measurement technique to achieve accurate low current measurements. Unlike other ammeters, the PocketPico uses log compression and a “current sink” circuit concept, eliminating the need for separate measurement ranges. This enables fast measurement (15,000/s) over several decades of current without the voltage transients and induced noise caused by auto-ranging.For more information on the technology behind this development see: Ammeter theory of operation .

It can be used for testing and characterization of a range of products including optoelectronics, sensors, nanomaterials. The PocketPico firmware has been designed to enable users to replace their existing picoammeters with the PocketPico to use with existing test set ups. The PocketPico accepts basic Standard Commands for Programmable Instrumentation (SCPI) commands for use with MATLAB, LabView, as well as custom scripts.

The handheld PocketPico eliminates harmful voltage spikes associated with range switching and reads at 15,000 samples per second. The size and USB interface makes it useful for on-the-go power demonstrations as well a laboratory’s low power measurement solution.
The PocketPico uses a patent pending technology called SafeRanging — a continuous ranging feature that Ix says is superior to the conventional relay based auto-ranging technology integrated into other picoammeters.

SafeRanging simplifies testing by allowing you to measure current in the pico through milliamp ranges while eliminating the problems of range selection and auto-range changing present in other picoammeters. It makes use of a logarithmic current measurement scale across a range of input currents with no need to set a beginning measurement range.

The PocketPico provides:

  • Small size (2.7in × 1.4in × 3.7in, and 8oz);
  • Single measurement range of 20pA – 2mA at a 15,000 samples/second;
  • Reader software interface;
  • USB 2.0 data connection;
  • SafeRanging technology that protects against voltage transients.

The PocketPico is priced at $1,199.

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