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Measures low currents and high resistances
Side Textquickly, accurately, and economically
6487
The 5½-digit Model 6487 Picoammeter/Voltage
Source improves on the measurement capability
of the award-winning Model 6485, and adds a
high resolution 500V source. It provides higher
accuracy and faster rise times than the 6485, as
well as a damping function for use with capacitive devices. With eight current measurement
ranges and high speed autoranging, this costeffective instrument can measure currents from
20fA to 20mA, take measure­ments at speeds up
to 1000 readings per s­ econd, and source voltage
from 200µV to 505V.
• 10fA resolution
• 5½-digit resolution
• <200µV burden voltage
• Alternating Voltage method
ohms measurements
• Automated voltage sweeps for
I-V characterization
• Floating measurements up to
500V
• Up to 1000 readings/second
• Built-in Model 486 and 487
emulation mode
• IEEE-488 and RS-232 interfaces
• Analog output
• Digital I/O
LOW LEVEL MEASURE & SOURCE
Picoammeter/ Voltage Source
The Model 6487’s 10fA resolution, superior sensitivity, voltage sweeping, and Alternating Voltage
resistance measurements make it well suited for
characterizing low current devices. Using the
latest current measurement technology, it is significantly less expensive than other instruments
that p­ erform similar functions, such as optical
power meters, tera-ohmmeters, competitive
picoammeters, or user-designed solutions. With
a price that’s comparable to a high-end DMM, the Model 6487 makes picoamp-level measurements
affordable for virtually any laboratory or production floor.
Low Voltage Burden and Higher Accuracy
While DMMs typically employ shunt ammeter circuitry to measure current, the Model 6487 is a feedback picoammeter. This design reduces voltage burden by several orders of magnitude, resulting in a
voltage burden of less than 200µV on the lower measurement ranges. The low voltage burden makes
the Model 6487 function much more like an ideal ammeter than a DMM, so it can make current
measurements with high accuracy, even in circuits with very low source voltages.
Successor to the Model 487
The Model 6487 builds on the strengths of
one of Keithley’s most popular picoammeters,
the Model 487, offering an additional 20mA
measurement range, as well as much higher
measurement speeds, up to 1000 readings per
second. It simplifies device characterization
with built-in voltage sweeping capability and the
Alternating Voltage method for high resistances.
A time-stamped 3000-reading data buffer provides minimum, maximum, and standard deviation statistics. A built-in emulation mode makes
it possible to control the Model 6487 with any
custom code written to control the Model 487.
Current Ranges
Model 487
2 nA–2 mA
Voltage Burden
200 µV
Reading Rate
Voltage Sweeps
Alternating Voltage
Ohms
Analog Output
Storage Buffer
Best V Source
Resolution
Up to 180/s
No
Model 6487
2 nA–20 mA
200 µV (1 mV on
20 mA range)
Up to 1000/s
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
(non-inverting)
512 points
Yes
(inverting)
3000 points
1 mV
0.2 mV
Features that Expand Test and Measurement Flexibility
• Direct resistance measurements. Optimized for resistances from 50W to 5×1014W using the
Source Voltage/Measure Current method.
• Alternating Voltage method resistance measurements. This method improves resistance
measurements on devices with high background current or high noise. It extends the measurable
resistance range up to 1016W.
• 500V overload protection. This high overload protection and a robust design let the Model
6487 t­olerate abusive overflows, including accidentally shorting the voltage source directly into
the ammeter.
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Ordering Information
6487Picoammeter/
Voltage Source
Accessories Supplied
CA-186-1B
Ground Connection
Cable, Banana
to Screw-Lug
CAP-31 Protective Shield/
Cap (3-lug)
CS-459 Safety Interlock Plug
7078-TRX-3
Low Noise Triax Input
Cable, 1m (3 ft)
8607
High Voltage Banana
Cable Set for Voltage
Source Output
Picoammeter/ Voltage Source
• Rear panel triax input. This allows the picoammeter to be used in floating operation, up to
500V. When not floating, the addition of a triax to BNC adapter allows inexpensive, easy-to-use
BNC cables to be employed, rather than more expensive triaxial cables.
• RS-232 and IEEE-488 interfaces. These interfaces make it easy to integrate the Model 6487 into
automated test and measurement systems.
• Scaled voltage analog output. This output allows the Model 6487 to transmit measurement
results to devices like DMMs, data acquisition cards, oscilloscopes, or strip chart recorders.
• Built-in Trigger Link interface. The Trigger Link interface simplifies synchronizing the Model
6487 with other instruments and voltage sources. This interface combines six independent selectable trigger lines on a single connector for simple, direct control over all instruments in a system.
• Display on/off switch. For research on light-sensitive components, such as measuring the dark
currents of photodiodes or I-V measurements on unpackaged semiconductors, the front panel
display can be switched off to avoid introducing light that could significantly reduce the accuracy
of the results.
• One-touch front panel design. Functions can be configured easily with the push of a button,
without complicated function menus.
A Broad Range of Low Current Applications
Wafer-Level Photodiode Testing
The Model 6487 Picoammeter/Voltage Source can be paired with a calibrated light source and a
probing fixture to create a cost-effective photodiode test system. Multiple Model 6487s can be connected to the DUT’s probe pads to provide photocurrent readings or, with the addition of a switch
matrix, one pico­ammeter can take current measurements from multiple pads. In the first step of the
measurement ­process, performed in total darkness, the Model 6487 produces a voltage sweep and
then measures the resulting dark current. In the second step, a voltage bias is applied and the resulting photocurrent is meas­ured while the light level is increased in calibrated steps. The same basic
test configuration can be used for testing positive intrinsic negative (PIN) and avalanche photodiodes
(APDs). The 6487’s high resolution on the 10V source range provides superior sweeping and biasing
when small biases are required. The 500V source capability is necessary to bias APDs.
• Resistance/resistivity
measurements
Calibrated Light Source
Photo Diode
Pads
• Beam monitoring and radiation
monitoring
• Leakage current testing in
insulators, switches, relays, and
other components
Probe Needles
Probe
Needles
LOW LEVEL MEASURE & SOURCE
APPLICATIONS
Wafer
• I-V characterization
on semiconductor and
optoelectronic devices
• Fiber alignment
• Circuit test and analysis in DCLF
circuits
• Sensor characterization
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Measures low currents and high resistances
Side Textquickly, accurately, and economically
6487
Vsource
Ammeter
6487 Picoammeter/Voltage Source
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Measures low currents and high resistances
Side Textquickly, accurately, and economically
6487
Picoammeter/ Voltage Source
Monitoring and Control of Focused Ion Beam Currents
In semiconductor fabrication, focused ion beam systems are often used for nanometer-scale imaging,
micromachining, and mapping. Careful monitoring of the magnitude of the beam current with an
ion detector is critical. The ion detector generates a secondary current that’s proportional to the
current of the primary ion beam. When this secondary current is measured, it can be used to control
the intensity of the primary beam. However, this secondary current is very low, often just a few
picoamps, so the instrumentation measuring it must provide high measurement accuracy and repeatability, as well as sub-picoamp resolution. The Model 6487’s wide measurement range and 5½-digit
resolution make it ideal for this application. Signal connections to the Model 6487 are made through
the instrument’s triax connector. Often, a detector may require high voltage to attract ions, making
the 6487’s 500V source a necessity.
When do you need a
picoammeter?
Measuring low DC currents often
demands a lot more than a digital
multimeter can deliver. Generally,
DMMs lack the sensitivity required
to measure currents less than
100nA. Even at higher currents,
a DMM’s input voltage drop
(voltage burden) of hun­dreds
of millivolts can make accurate
current measurements impossible.
Electrometers can measure low
currents very accu­rately, but the
circuitry needed to measure
extremely low currents, combined
with functions like voltage,
resistance, and charge measure­
ment, can increase an electrom­
eter’s cost significantly. The Model
6487 Picoammeter/Voltage
Source combines the economy
and ease of use of a DMM with
low current sensitivity near that of
an electrometer.
6487
Picoammeter/Voltage Source
Ion
Detector
Ion Beam
IM
High Resistance Measurements
The Model 6487 Picoammeter can be used to
measure high resistances (>1GW) in applications
such as insulation resistance testing. A c­ onstant
voltage is placed in series with the unknown
resistance and the picoammeter. The voltage
drop across the picoammeter is negligible, so
all the voltage appears across the unknown
resistance. The resulting current is measured by
the picoammeter and the resistance is calculated
using Ohm’s Law (R = V/I). To prevent generated
current due to electrostatic interference, the
unknown resistance is housed in a shielded test
fixture. A small series resistor may be added to
reduce noise if the un­known resistor has high
stray capacitance across it.
Metal Shield
6487 Picoammeter/
Voltage Source
R
HI
Ammeter
LO
HI
Vsource
LO
LOW LEVEL MEASURE & SOURCE
Accessories Available
CABLES
6517-ILC-3 Interlock Cable for 8009 Resistivity Test Fixture
7007-1
Shielded IEEE-488 Cable, 1m (3.3 ft)
7007-2
Shielded IEEE-488 Cable, 2m (6.6 ft)
7007-4
Shielded IEEE-488 Cable, 4m (13.1 ft)
7078-TRX-10 Low Noise Triax Cable, 3.0m (10 ft)
7078-TRX-20Low Noise Triax Cable, 6.0m (20 ft)
8501-*
Trigger Link Cable with male Micro-DIN connectors
at each end, 1m or 2m (3.3 ft or 6.6 ft)
Services Available
6487-3Y-EW
TEST FIXTURES
8009 Resistivity Test Fixture
RACK MOUNT KITS
4288-* Single or Dual Fixed Rack Mounting Kit
GPIB Interfaces
KPCI-488LPA IEEE-488 Interface/Controller for the PCI Bus
KUSB-488B IEEE-488 USB-to-GPIB Interface Adapter
1-year factory warranty extended to 3 years
from date of shipment
C/6487-3Y-ISO 3 (ISO-17025 accredited) calibrations within 3
years of purchase*
TRN-LLM-1-C
Course: Making Accurate Low-Level
Measurements
*Not available in all countries
ADAPTERS
237-TRX-BAR Triax Barrel
7078-TRX-BNCTriax-to-BNC Adapter
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6487
TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT: 0°–18°C & 28°–50°C. For each °C, add 0.1 × (% rdg + ­offset) to accuracy spec.
Input Voltage Burden: <200µV on all ranges except <1mV on 20mA range.
Maximum Input Capacitance: Stable to 10nF on all nA ranges and 2µA range; 1µF on 20µA and 200µA ranges, and on
mA ranges.
maximum continuous input voltage: 505 VDC.
NMRR1: (50 or 60Hz): 60dB.
ISOLATION (Ammeter Common or Voltage Source to chassis): Typically >1×1011W in ­parallel with <1nF.
MAXIMUM COMMON MODE VOLTAGE (between chassis and voltage source or ­ammeter): 505 VDC.
ANALOG OUTPUT: Scaled voltage output (inverting 2V full scale on all ranges): 2.5% ±2mV.
ANALOG OUTPUT IMPEDANCE3: <100W, DC–2kHz.
VOLTAGE SOURCE:
Accuracy 5
Noise
Typical Typical
Range Step Size ±(% prog. + offset)
(p-p)
Temperature
Rise Time 6, 8 Fall Time 7, 8
(Max.) (typical) 18°–28°C, 0–70% R.H. 0.1–10 Hz
Coefficient
(10%–90%) (90%–10%)
±10.100
200 µV
0.1 % + 1 mV
<50 µV (0.005% + 20 µV)/°C
250 µs
150 µs
±50.500
1 mV
0.1 % + 4 mV
<150 µV (0.005% + 200 µV)/°C
250 µs
300 µs
±505.00
10 mV
0.15% + 40 mV
<1.5 mV (0.008% + 2 mV)/°C
4.5 ms
1 ms
SELECTABLE CURRENT LIMIT: 2.5mA, 250µA, 25µA for 50V and 500V ranges, 25mA additional limit for 10V range. All current limits are –20%/+35% of nominal.
WIDEBAND NOISE 9: <30mVp-p 0.1Hz–20MHz.
TYPICAL TIME STABILITY: ±(0.003% + 1mV) over 24 hours at constant temperature (within 1°C, between 18°–28°C, after 5 minute
­settling).
OUTPUT RESISTANCE: <2.5W.
VOLTAGE SWEEPS: Supports linear voltage sweeps on fixed source range, one current or resistance measurement per step.
Maximum sweep rate: 200 steps per second. Maximum step count 3000. Optional delay between step and measure.
Resistance Measurement (V/I): Used with voltage source; resistance calculated from voltage setting and measured current.
Accuracy is based on voltage source accuracy plus ammeter accuracy. Typical accuracy better than 0.6% for readings between 1kW
and 1TW.
ALTERNATING VOLTAGE RESISTANCE MEASUREMENT: Offers alternating voltage resistance measurements for resistances from
109W to 1015W. Alternates between 0V and user-selectable voltage up to ±505V.
NOTES
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
At 1 PLC – limited to 60 rdgs/s under this condition.
At 6 PLC, 1 standard deviation, 100 readings, filter off, capped input – limited to 10 rdgs/sec under this condition.
Measured at analog output with resistive load >2kW.
Maximum rise time can be up to 25% greater.
Accuracy does not include output resistance/load regulation.
Rise Time is from 0V to ± full-scale voltage (increasing magnitude).
Fall Time is from ± full-scale voltage to 0V (decreasing magnitude).
For capacitive loads, add C·∆V/ILimit to rise time, and C·∆V/1mA to fall time.
Measured with LO connected to chassis ground.
REMOTE OPERATION
IEEE-488 BUS IMPLEMENTATION: SCPI (IEEE-488.2,
SCPI-1996.0); DDC (IEEE-488.1).
LANGUAGE EMULATION: Keithley Model 486/487
­emulation via DDC mode.
RS-232 IMPLEMENTATION:
Supports: SCPI 1996.0.
Baud Rates: 300, 600, 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19.2k,
38.4k, 57.6k.
Protocols: Xon/Xoff, 7 or 8 bit ASCII, parity-odd/even/
none.
Connector: DB-9 TXD/RXD/GND.
GENERAL
AMMETER INPUT CONNECTOR: Three lug triaxial on
rear panel.
ANALOG OUTPUT CONNECTOR: Two banana jacks on
rear panel.
VOLTAGE SOURCE OUTPUT CONNECTOR: Two banana
jacks on rear panel.
INTERLOCK CONNECTOR: 4 pin DIN.
TRIGGER LINE: Available, see manual for usage.
DISPLAY: 12 character vacuum fluorescent.
DIGITAL FILTER: Median and averaging (selectable from
2 to 100 readings).
RANGING: Automatic or manual.
AUTORANGING TIME3: <250ms (analog filter off, 1PLC).
OVERRANGE INDICATION: Display reads “OVRFLOW.”
CONVERSION TIME: Selectable 0.01PLC to 60PLC (50PLC
under 50Hz operation). (Adjustable from 200µs to 1s)
READING RATE:
To internal buffer 1000 readings/second1
To IEEE-488 bus 900 readings/second1, 2
BUFFER: Stores up to 3000 readings.
PROGRAMS: Provide front panel access to IEEE address,
choice of engineering units or scientific notation, and
digital calibration.
emc: Conforms with European Union Directive 89/336/
EEC, EN61326-1.
safety: Conforms with European Union Directive 73/23/
EEC, EN61010-1, CAT I.
ENVIRONMENT:
Operating: 0°–50°C; relative humidity 70% noncondensing, up to 35°C. Above 35°C, derate humidity
by 3% for each °C.
Storage: –10°C to +65°C.
WARM-UP: 1 hour to rated accuracy (see manual for recommended procedure).
POWER: 100–120V or 220–240V, 50–60Hz, (50VA).
PHYSICAL:
Case Dimensions: 90mm high × 214mm wide ×
369mm deep (3½ in. × 83⁄8 in. × 149⁄16 in.).
Working Dimensions: From front of case to rear
including power cord and IEEE-488 connector:
394mm (15.5 inches).
NET WEIGHT: <4.7 kg (<10.3 lbs).
Notes
1. 0.01PLC, digital filters off, front panel off, auto zero off.
2. Binary transfer mode. IEEE-488.1.
3. Measured from trigger in to meter complete.
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Model
Model
6487
Side
specifications
specifications
Text
Typical Analog
Accuracy (1 Year) 1
Rise Time (10% to 90%) 3
±(% rdg. + offset)
Typical
Damping4
18°–28°C, 0–70% RH
RMS Noise 2 OffOn
0.3 % + 400 fA
20 fA
4 ms
80 ms
0.2 % + 1 pA
20 fA
4 ms
80 ms
0.15% + 10 pA
1 pA
300 µs
1 ms
0.15% + 100 pA
1 pA
300 µs
1 ms
0.1 % + 1 nA
100 pA
110 µs
110 µs
0.1 % + 10 nA
100 pA
110 µs
110 µs
0.1 % +100 nA
10 nA
110 µs
110 µs
0.1 % + 1 µA
10 nA
110 µs
110 µs
LOW LEVEL MEASURE & SOURCE
5½ Digit
Default
Range
Resolution
2 nA
10 fA
20 nA
100 fA
200 nA
1 pA
2 µA
10pA
20 µA
100pA
200 µA
1nA
2 mA
10nA
20 mA
100 n A
Picoammeter/ Voltage Source
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