skip to main content

Title: Ultrastable low-noise current amplifier: A novel device for measuring small electric currents with high accuracy

An ultrastable low-noise current amplifier (ULCA) is presented. The ULCA is a non-cryogenic instrument based on specially designed operational amplifiers and resistor networks. It involves two stages, the first providing a 1000-fold current gain and the second performing a current-to-voltage conversion via an internal 1 MΩ reference resistor or, optionally, an external standard resistor. The ULCA’s transfer coefficient is highly stable versus time, temperature, and current amplitude within the full dynamic range of ±5 nA. The low noise level of 2.4 fA/√Hz helps to keep averaging times short at small input currents. A cryogenic current comparator is used to calibrate both input current gain and output transresistance, providing traceability to the quantum Hall effect. Within one week after calibration, the uncertainty contribution from short-term fluctuations and drift of the transresistance is about 0.1 parts per million (ppm). The long-term drift is typically 5 ppm/yr. A high-accuracy variant is available that shows improved stability of the input gain at the expense of a higher noise level of 7.5 fA/√Hz. The ULCA also allows the traceable generation of small electric currents or the calibration of high-ohmic resistors.
Authors:
;  [1] ; ; ;  [2]
  1. Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Abbestraße 2-12, 10587 Berlin (Germany)
  2. Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Bundesallee 100, 38116 Braunschweig (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22392378
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Review of Scientific Instruments; Journal Volume: 86; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; ACCURACY; AMPLITUDES; CALIBRATION; DESIGN; ELECTRIC CURRENTS; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; GAIN; HALL EFFECT; NOISE; OPERATIONAL AMPLIFIERS; RESISTORS