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RBD Instruments Buy Now

9103 Data Logging & Graphing Picoammeter - The only picoammeter that can float up to 1500V!

Publication that used the 9103 -


Actuel 1.3 Software (Release)

Actuel 1.4 Software (BETA) latest features

LabVIEW Instrument Drivers

Actuel Software Tutorial Video

Actuel (Control Software)

Comparison Chart


Theory of Operation



9103 USB Picoammeter Datasheet

Many labs have a picoammeter and some kind of bias supply to measure electron or ion currents in a vacuum chamber. The 9103 USB Picoammeter provides an outstanding value by combining the picoammeter and target bias supply into a single unit which also includes an easy to use software interface, data logging and graphing capability and ASCII  commands that make it easy for you to quickly integrate our USB plug and play picoammeter into  your own software application. Designed for use with electron microscopes, Auger electron analyzers and X-ray photoelectron spectrometers, the 9103 has a useful DC low current measurement range of low pA to low mA.

The 9103 USB Picoammeter is not limited to applications that involve measuring electron or ion current in vacuum. If you need to measure low pA to low mA DC current for any application, the RBD 9103 may be exactly the current measurement device that you need. Any meter can display current, but the capability to graph current vs. time or another variable is what sets the 9013 apart from the competition. The latest release of our Actuel data logging software includes a new sync feature which enables multiple 9103s to measure, record and graph current - up to a total of 127 9103s at the same time!

ECCN# 3A992a


Applications Include:

  • Electron & ion beam current measurements
  • Electron current stability testing
  • Ion current stability testing
  • Mass spectrometer current measurements
  • Photodiode current & dark current measurements - up to 127 devices at the same time.
  • Beam and particle monitoring
  • Spectrometer measurements
  • Data logging current comparisons
  • Conductivity measurement
  • I-V characterization
  • Leakage current testing
  • Vacuum diode testing
  • Research and development
  • Lab test and set up
  • Optical fiber alignment
  • Materials resistance testing
  • Analog and mixed-signal circuit testing & analysis
  • Teaching labs/ education


Replace your old meter and bias box with a state of the art USB 9103 Picoammeter!

The 9103 is the perfect replacement for the Keithley 485. Still using your Keithley 485 autoranging picoammeter ? Here is a link to the user manual. The 485 was a great meter in it's day, which is why we modeled our 9103 after it!

Input can be "floated" up to 1500V DC! Other meters are limited to 10V.

LabVIEW compatible



Picoammeter Features and Benefits

Additional features are provided by the Actuel application

*Requires firmware update to older 9103 Picoammeters - available from RBD for a nominal charge.

** Does not include TRIAX cable




Picoammeter Control With Actuel software


Actuel is RBD’s newest software application. A play on words (Actuel is French for “current”, as in “at the present moment”), Actuel provides the interface to RBD’s new 9103 Picoammeter. Version 1 of Actuel provides a control and display medium for the Picoammeter, including an easy-to-read current display and status information. It also includes an interface that provides data sampling and recording (data logging). In addition, the software provides a console for accessing advanced features of the Picoammeter, including calibration and diagnostics.

Comparison Chart:

Here's how RBD's 9103 Picoammeter stands up to the competition:


Feature RBD 9103 Keithley 6485
USB (included)
Real time data logging software (included)
Integrated 90V low noise target bias for improved accuracy of electron and ion beam measurements in vacuum
Simple ASCII programming commands for easily integration into your application
Low pA to mid mA current range

Watch Actuel in action in this tutorial::






Parameter Specification
USB Interfaces 160 mW power consumption
2 nA minimum DAC Resolution 0.1 pA
2 mA minimum DAC Resolution 100 nA
Ranges 2 nA (2,000 pA) to 2 mA with 100 fA (.1 pA) resolution
Input Protection Reverse diode 1 VDC
Recorder Output Voltage +/- 2.000 V per range
Voltage Burden If the current is in the range of measurement of the instrument, the Voltage drop should be less than +/-26uV + (3.2 * I), where I is the current flowing into the instrument, 3.2 is the resistance of the fuse, and +/-26uV is the offset Voltage specification of the op-amp. The current measurement circuit uses an op-amp to convert current to Voltage, where the op-amp inputs are referenced to the ground circuit of the current source. If the current goes outside the range of measurement of the instrument, the Voltage is clamped to +/- 1V by a low leakage diode clamp circuit using two diodes in parallel with one diode connected anode to ground, cathode to the current measurement node, and the second diode connected cathode to ground, anode to the current measurement node.
Warm-up 1 hour to rated accuracy
Environment Operating 0o C to 50o C
Mechanical Dimensions 55H x 170W x 165L (mm) / 2.11H x 6.68W x 6.30L (inches)
Net. Weight 0.816 kg / 1.5 lbs
Connections Input: Isolated BNC (two or three-lug TRIAX inputs available on request); Analog Output: Banana jacks
Safety Conforms to USB Power Specification - for use by qualified personnel who are trained in the use of test and measurement instrumentation
Accessories Included Instructions manual with ASCII commands, low noise BNC cable, USB power cable, USB driver, installation instructions, Actuel software

Resolution & Accuracy per Range


Range Resolution Accuracy
2 nA 100 fA 0.4 +/- %

20 nA 1 pA 0.4 +/- %
200 nA 10 pA 0.2 +/- %
2 uA 100 pA 0.15 +- %
20 uA 1 nA 0.1 +/- %
200 uA 10 nA 0.1 +/- %
2 mA 100 nA 0.1 +/- %


More Information

For price and delivery information, please contact our sales department at 541-330-0723 x 304 or send an email to

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