9103 USB Data Logging and Graphing Picoammeter


The only picoammeter that can float up to 1500 Volts!

Rugged, portalbe, affordble, and ASCII programmable...

RBDís 9103 USB Picoammeter measures bi-polar DC current from picoamps to milliamps. It can be biased with an optional built-in +/- fixed 90V DC bias, or your own low-noise DC power-supply.

Data Logging and graphing software is included for Microsoft Windows. The 9103 is compatible with OSx, Linux, and LabView, and can be controlled via a simple ASCII interface.

The 9103 works well in noisy environments and is available with an optional 2 or 3 post triax connector. It was designed for measuring electron and ion beams as well as diode and IC I/V characterization. The 9103 is multi-channel capable - up to 127 can be synchronized!


RBD Instruments Buy Now


  • 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
  • Labs in educational institutions

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!


  • Accurate Current Measurement: Ranges 2 nA to 2 mA, - .001 nA to 2.499 mA
  • Auto or Manual Range: automatic or manual range selection
  • Interval or Single Sampling: take samples of current at timed intervals ranging from 25 ms to 9999 ms per point
  • Offset Null: null (zero) the offset at a particular range
  • Input Grounding: enables the input to be shorted to ground when not sampling, and automatically opened when sampling (this feature is designed specifically for use with electron microscopes and vacuum spectrometers to prevent the specimen stage from charging)
  • Input can be floated up to 1500 V DC (tested to 2000 V DC)
  • Output via External Chart Recorder: convert the sample current measurement to a voltage and output to a chart recorder or similar device
  • Sample Filter: select the speed and accuracy of the built-in sample filter
  • Query Status: query status calibration (including stability, over/under range indication), and diagnostic information from the device
  • 90 V Bias (Optional): select a +/- fixed 90 V bias to reduce secondary electron emission
  • External Bias (Optional): Use your own isolated voltage source to measure current vs. voltage
  • Two or Three Post Triax Input (Optional - does not include cable)
  • Software and Compatibility; comes bundled with application software for Microsoft Windows (Actuel); hardware is compatible with various OSs including most Linux and Apple Mac OS systems
  • Programmability: ASCII command interface provided for user-defined testing and automation as well as integration with third-party instrument software
  • Interface: On/Off switch, USB (type B) interface connector, BNC input connector, banana jack recorder output connectors, power and data LEDs
  • Flexible Calibration: calibration procedure is provided so the unit can be calibrated annually by your local calibration service
  • Device ID - a 10-character device identifier can be programmed and stored in firmware. (Requires firmware update to older 9103 Picoammeters, available for a nominal charge. Contact RBD to find out if your 9103 requires an update.)

Additional features are provided by the Actuel application



Picoammeter Control With Actuel Software



Actuel is RBDís 9103 control and data acquisition application. Actuel provides the interface to RBDís new 9103 Picoammeter, including a control and display medium for the Picoammeter. 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.


The latest version of Actuel is available here.



Comparison Chart (RBD 9103 and Keithley 6485)


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 easy integration into your application
Low pA to mid mA current range






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 as anode to ground, cathode to the current measurement node. The second diode is 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 technicalsales@rbdinstruments.com.