Keithley 6430 Sub-FemtoAmp SourceMeter

Table of Contents

About this Machine

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The Keithley 6430 has four-quadrant sourcing plus measurement sensitivity down to the sub-femtoamp and micro-volt levels. You can measure resistance with either the constant voltage or constant current method. This equipment has remote preamp design features which minimize cable/noise effects and increase the measurement accuracy. This instruments low noise and drift performance makes it ideal for research on single electron devices, highly resistive nanowires and nanotubes, polymers, and electrochemical applications.

This SourceMeter has 0.012% basic accuracy with broad source and measurement ranges.

This SOP mainly focuses on Basic Source-Measurement Operations and Ohms Measurements.

If you need to operate this instrument at a higher level, please refer to the manual. Some additional capabilities of the SourceMeter include:

Applications include:

Machine Safety

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How to Get Help

Ask a Manager if you have any questions.

Using this Machine

To optimize your connections use copper-to-copper connections when possible and use silver solder on all solder connections to minimize thermal EMFs. If available, clean all connector terminals free of oxidation using a small amount of DeoxIT.

Front Panel Overview

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  1. Measurement (MEAS) function keys:
    • “V” Measure volts.
    • “I” Measure amps.
    • “Ω” Measure ohms.
  2. SOURCE function keys:
    • “V” Source voltage (V-source).
    • “I” Source current (I-source).
    • “˄” Increase source or compliance value.
    • “˅” Decrease source or compliance value.
  3. Operation keys:
    • “EDIT” Select source or compliance reading for editing.
    • “TOGGLE” Toggle display positions of source and measure readings, or display V and I measurements.
    • “LOCAL” Cancel remote operation.
    • “REL” Enable/disable relative reading on present function.
    • “FILTER” Display digital filter status for present function and toggle filter on/off.
    • “LIMIT” Perform configured limit tests.
    • “TRIG” Trigger a measurement from the front panel.
    • “SWEEP” Start configured sweep.
    • “<” And “>” Move through parameter values or selections within functions and operations.
    • “DIGITS” Change number of digits of display resolution.
    • “SPEED” Change measurement speed by selecting accuracy or specifying NPLC.
    • “STORE” Set buffer size and enable reading storage.
    • “RECALL” Display stored readings and timestamp.
    • “CONFIG” Press CONFIG and then appropriate key to configure function or operation.
    • “MENU” Access and configure Main Menu selections. When entering numeric data, use to clear reading to minimum absolute value.
    • “EXIT” Cancels selection. Use to back out of menu structures.
    • “ENTER” Accepts selection.
  4. RANGE keys:
    • “˄” Moves to next higher range, increments digit, moves to next selection.
    • “˅” Moves to next lower range, decrements digit, moves to previous selection.
    • “AUTO” Enables or disables measurement auto range.
  5. Annunciators:
    • “EDIT” Instrument in edit mode.
    • “ERR” Questionable reading, invalid cal step.
    • “REM” Instrument in GPIB remote mode.
    • “TALK” Instrument addressed to talk over GPIB.
    • “LSTN” Instrument addressed to listen over GPIB.
    • “SRQ” Service request over GPIB.
    • “REAR” On = Remote PreAmp not connected. Off = Remote PreAmp connected.
    • “REL” Relative measure reading displayed.
    • “FILT” Digital filter enabled.
    • “MATH” Math function enabled.
    • “4W” Remove sensing enables.
    • “AUTO” Autoranging enabled.
    • “ARM” Source-measure operations being performed.
    • “TRIG” External trigger source selected.
    • “*” Reading being stored.
  6. Source Control:
    • “ON/OFF” Turns the source on or off.
  7. Handle:
    • Pull out and rotate to desired position.

Rear Panel Overview

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Cable Setup:


Power-up Sequence:

Once this instrument is powered up it will perform self-tests on its EPROM and RAM. If any kind of failure is detected it will display an error message; please refer to Appendix B in the manual if any error messages are displayed and correct the issue before operating this piece of equipment.

Source-Measure Operation:

Source voltage – Display current and/or voltage measurement

The V-Source can output voltage from +/- 5µV to +/- 210V and limit crrent from 1fA to 105mA. The V-Meter can measure voltage from +/- 1 µV to +/- 211V. The V-Source and V-Meter each have four ranges; 200mV, 2V, 20V, ande 200V.

Source current – Display voltage and/or current measurement

With the Remote PreAmp, the I-Source can output current form +/- 0.5fA to +/- 105mA and limit voltage from 200µV to 210V. The I-Meter can measure current from +/- 10aA to +/- 105.5mA. The I-Source and I-Meter each have 12 ranges; 1pA, 10pA, 100pA, 1nA, 10nA, 100nA, 1 µA, 10 µA, 100µA, 1mA, 10mA, and 100mA. Without the Remote PreAmp, the 1pA, 10pA, 100pA, 1nA, 10nA, and 100nA ranges are not available.

Measure resistance – Display voltage or current component of measurement

Measure only (V or I) – Display voltage or current measurement


  1. Turn off the OUTPUT then power down the instrument.
  2. Remove the Remote PreAmp from the mainframe.


  1. Remove the banana jacks from the item under test.
  2. Remove any additional wires from the item under test and the SourceMeter.
  3. Clean up your workstation.

Tips and Tricks