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Low-Power Impedance Characterization—the 3708 Scanner

Model 372 Hall bar application

Many material characterization experiments require measurements to be performed at cryogenic temperatures. This can be because the material behavior changes in interesting ways at these temperatures, or because background thermal noise must be minimized for useful measurement data to be extracted. The standard inputs of the Model 372 accurately measure higher-impedance devices such as temperature sensors, but begin to lose resolution and accuracy when extremely low impedances are encountered such as in Hall effect or superconducting material measurements. However, by adding a 3708 preamp and scanner to the Model 372, these materials can be characterized with the same accuracy and stability as when measuring higher-impedance devices.

To accomplish this, the 3708 produces higher levels of DC bias current than both the Model 372 and the 3726 scanner and preamp. This means the 3708 would cause self-heating in a temperature sensor used at ultra-low temperatures. The new dedicated control input resolves this issue by providing the ability to make highly reliable measurements of a temperature control sensor.

3708 scanner

Lower input voltage noise

The limiting factor for making extremely low-impedance measurements directly with the Model 372 is the input voltage noise figure of 10 nV/√Hz. The preamp in the 3708 reduces this by a factor of 5 to an impressive 2 nV/√Hz. By reducing the amount of input noise, even smaller return signals can be recovered with excellent accuracy. When combined with the ability of the Model 372 to smooth measurement values with user-settable filters ranging from 1 to 200 s, the 3708 preamp and scanner provides the best solution to measuring low-impedance devices at cryogenic temperatures.

Multiple simultaneous connections

The 3708 scanner and preamp allows up to eight simultaneous connections to be made, with the scanner feature enabling measurement to be switched between those connections. Unlike the 3726 scanner, all connections that are not actively being measured are left open, allowing the 3708 to be connected to Hall bar devices.

Overcoming cable length

With such small resultant voltages needing to be measured, it can be very helpful to have these signals amplified slightly as close as possible to the source of these signals. The compact size of the 3708 scanner and preamp allows it be mounted close to the device or sample being measured, thereby maintaining signal-to-noise ratio for the measurement signal between the sample and the Model 372 that will ultimately perform the measurements. Cable lengths of up to 10 m are supported by the 3708, allowing the Model 372 to be located away from the experiment area if needed.

Model 372 overviewMore about the Model 372Dilution refrigerator temperature control
372 and sensor performance372 and scanner performance