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Picoammeters

Overview

Pocketpico Picoammeters accurately and easily measure very low direct current as low as 20 picoamps, utilizing USB for both power and data output. Our customers frequently cite the Pocketpico as “easy to set up and use” and remark how they are able to integrate it with their existing setups “quickly and with minimal effort.” Our picoammeters are easy to use, affordable, and small enough to fit in your pocket!

What sets PocketPico Picoammeters apart?

  • High accuracy (±0.5%) and high resolution (4½ digits)
  • Single measurement range (no need to manually select a range)
  • Small size (69×36×94 mm, 230 g)
  • USB connection for power and data
  • Fast read speeds
  • Easy-to-use PocketPico Reader software

Model comparison

Model Min test current Max test current Resolution
P105 10 nA 2 mA 4 1/2 digits, 1 pA min
P110 20 pA 2 mA 4 1/2 digits 100 fA min

Applications

  • Photodiode & dark current measurement
  • Ion beam current monitoring and measurement
  • Optical fiber alignment
  • Sensor and device I-V characterization
  • Materials resistance testing
  • Leakage current testing
  • Analog and mixed-signal testing & analysis
  • Teaching labs
  • Product demonstrations

 

Brings low current measurement into the 21st century
- Electronic Products Magazine

 

Software

PocketPico Reader

PocketPico Reader v1.1PocketPico Picoammeters may also be used with the the free PocketPico Reader, our lightweight & easy-to-use software application. The PocketPico Reader displays real-time current readings and enables data output in .csv format.

PocketPico Reader System Requirements
  • Windows XP or Windows 7 Professional
  • 1GHz processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • Windows .NET framework version 2.0 or later

Supported Languages

The PocketPico firmware has been designed to enable users to replace their existing picoammeters with the PocketPico to use with existing test set ups. Our instruments are natively compatible with LabVIEW and it accepts basic Standard Commands for Programmable Instrumentation (SCPI) commands for use with MATLAB and other computing environments.

 

Specifications

Model P105 Model P110
Min test current 10 nA 20 pA
Resolution 4 1/2 digits, 1 pA min 4 1/2 digits, 100 fA min
Max test current 2 mA
Ranging Continuous (single range)
Accuracy 0.5% of input
Sampling rate 15,000/s (internally), 1,100/s (to USB)
Maximum voltage 5V DC
Input voltage burden <10 mV
Measurement method Unidirectional current sink (positive current)
Analog input BNC
Digital output USB
Power USB
Communication interface Virtual serial port
Command interface SCPI subset
Included software PocketPico Reader
Size 2.7 × 1.4 × 3.7in (69 × 36 × 94mm)
Weight 8oz
Included accessories Low-noise BNC cable, USB cable, custom travel case, etc.
Operating system Windows XP or Windows 7 Professional

SafeRanging

PocketPico instruments offers a unique patent pending technology called SafeRanging — a continuous ranging feature that is superior to the conventional relay based auto-ranging technology integrated into other picoammeters. SafeRanging allows our instruments to be a smaller, safer, more convenient instrument.

SafeRanging makes use of a logarithmic current measurement scale across several decades of input currents with no need to set a measurement range. This simplifies your testing and eliminates the problems of range selection and auto-range changing present in other picoammeters.

With our picoammeters there’s no need to estimate the range to begin taking measurements, no need to define a specific range or trying to work around the problem, and no need for expensive protection hardware. Life in the lab is simpler, faster and more convenient.

Problems with Auto-RangingMacs

When auto-ranging was introduced, it decreased testing time by enabling automation. However, this breakthrough came with some drawbacks, most notably an increased risk injected current due to transient voltages. The PocketPico’s SafeRanging technology solves this issue.

Other manufacturers warn that their picoammeters cannot maintain the voltage burden specification when switching ranges, and so the picoammeter becomes a current-limited voltage source until it re-attains equilibrium. This results in a current surge into your setup that can result in a voltage spike up to hundreds of volts.

 

FAQ

Technical

The P110 Picoammeter can measure to 20pA with resolution of 100fA (10 e-13 A)
Every instrument we sell is calibrated using instruments traceable to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Picoammeters are used in many applications ranging from electronics testing, materials characterization and surface science. Please take a look at the technical specifications and documents or contact us to determine if the PocketPico will meet your specific needs.
Our picoammeters uses a summing reference to measure current; therefore, the input voltage of either terminal must be between 0 and 5 Volts. Current must flow into the instrument. Please review the instruction manual and theory of operation for more details.
PocketPico Picoammeters always sample as fast as possible, with the hardware sampling up to 15,000 per second. To ‘slow’ the sampling rate, readings may be averaged to a maximum of 32,768 samples; e.g. the PocketPico will report one reading that is the average of 32,768 samples. The frequency of unique readings sent over USB is limited by the USB port speed.
The PocketPico Reader application provides a virtual display panel to the PocketPico hardware. At its most basic, it displays the current being read by the device along with overall measurement statistics, such as minimum, maximum, average and number of readings. It can also be used to record measurements over time exported to a comma separated values (csv) format.
Yes! Since the PocketPico is SCPI compatible, you may use the PocketPico Picoammeter with software such as MATLAB and LabVIEW. Example code may be found in the Picoammeter manual available for download here.

Ordering

You may purchase our instruments through our online store, by calling our sales department at +1 (734) 926-5900, or though one of our distributors.
Yes, discounts are available for qualified academic institutions. Please call or email for details.
Yes, we can ship outside the USA. Please call or email our sales department for details. Overseas customers may also order online from our distributors.
 

Press

Click magazine logo for article (opens in new window)

“Picoammeter uses new measurement technique”

“Picoammeter eliminates voltage transients”

“USB picoammeter resolves 20pA-2mA”

“Modular picoammeter brings measurement of small currents into the 21st century”

“Picoammeter touts continuous ranging technology
for real-time low current measurement”

“Miniature picoammeter uses novel measurement method”

“Tiny picoammeter eliminates voltage transients”

 

Testimonials

“The PocketPico’s single measurement range and intuitive software are very easy to use and enable us to perform tests that were unavailable to us before. I am very satisfied with the performance of this instrument and would recommend it to others, specifically those working with undergraduate students.”
- Chris Moore, Professor, Coastal Carolina University
“We use the PocketPico picoammeter to characterize optoelectronic devices. The PocketPico is easy to set up and use. I would highly recommend it.”
- Bryan Boggs, Science Lab Preparator, University of Oregon

“PocketPico has proved to be ideal for our testing of photodiodes. It is easy to use and we were able to integrate it into our existing test set up quickly and with minimal effort.”
- Graeme C., Systems Engineer
“The unit works as advertised and was easy to setup and use. Plus, your customer support proved very helpful. We successfully interfaced the unit to a photodiode and performed a number of useful laboratory and factory measurements.”
- Joel Mock, Micron Optics
“The PocketPico is our go-to device to measure and demonstrate the power generated by our tiles. It’s great for travel and the software effectively communicates our measurements in real time to customers and users.”
- Elizabeth Redmond, POWERleap Inc.
 
 

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