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Keithley Develops Solutions for Nanotechnology R&D

Cleveland, Ohio -- February 17, 2003 -- Keithley Instruments, Inc. (NYSE: KEI) has published literature and technical application tutorials that support engineers and scientists developing nanoscale devices and technology. This literature helps researchers select the appropriate Keithley measuring instruments based on the type of technology or device being characterized. Moreover, these application notes, brochures, and white papers describe techniques for accurate measurements of low-level electrical signals associated with nanoscale devices and materials. Applications include measurements on carbon nanotubes, nanotube-based field emitter displays, nanowires and nanofibers, and nano-opto components, plus characterization of molecular electronics and nanomaterials.

Application Background

Nanotechnology R&D is concerned with materials and devices that have structures that exhibit novel and significantly improved physical, electrical, chemical, and biological properties due to their nanoscale size. Generally, dimensions of less than 100nm are considered to be within the nanoscale domain. (The diameter of a human hair is 1000 times larger than a typical 10nm dimension.) The aim of nanotech R&D is to exploit nanoscale properties by gaining control of structures and devices at atomic, molecular, and supra-molecular levels, and to learn how to manufacture and use such devices efficiently.

These efforts are driven by the potential for nanotechnology to be a US$1 trillion global industry in 10-15 years. Global research funding for nanotechnology is expected to exceed US$3 billion in 2003. More than 750 corporations and start-up companies, universities, and government labs around the world are actively working on applications as diverse as coatings, bioseparation, drug delivery systems, flat panel displays, and fuel cells.

Literature Support

Keithley has published a variety of literature on nanotechnology applications:

  Application Notes

  • #2241 Making Ultra-Low Current Measurements with the Low-Noise Model 4200-SCS
  • #314 Volume and Surface Resistivity Measurements of Insulating Materials Using the Model 6517A Electrometer/High Resistance Meter
  • #100 Low Current Measurements
  • #312 High Resistance Measurements
  • Device Characterization Techniques using Keithley SourceMeter® Instruments with LabTracer Software (Lab Notes)


  • Solutions for Nanotech Research and Development
  • High Accuracy Electrometers for Low Current/High Resistance Applications
  • Low Current, High Resistance Measurement Solutions

  White Papers

  • Improving Low Current Measurements on Nanoelectronic and Molecular Electronic Devices
  • Making Better Fuel Cells: Through-Plane Resistivity Measurement of Graphic-Filled Bipolar Plates
  • New Materials - New Reliability Issues
  • Improving the Repeatability of Ultra-High Resistance and Resistivity Measurements
  • Obtaining More Accurate Resistance Measurements Using the 6-Wire Ohms Measurement Technique
  • Techniques for Reducing Resistance Measurement Uncertainty: DC Current Reversals vs. Classic Offset Compensation

Measuring Instruments for Nanotechnology

Keithley supplies a wide range of measurement solutions that are ideal for applications such as nanoelectronics, nano-optoelectronics, nanomaterials, and even nanobiology. These solutions satisfy nanotecnology's critical performance requirements, including high resolution/sensitivity, low noise/low drift, simplicity/ease of use, and robustness/reliability. For information on these instruments, see Keithley's publication Solutions for Nanotech Research and Development.

About Keithley Instruments. Keithley Instruments, Inc. provides optical and electrical measurement solutions from DC to RF (radio frequency) to the wireless, semiconductor, optoelectronics, and other electronics manufacturing industries. Engineers and scientists around the world use Keithley's advanced hardware and software for process monitoring, production test, and basic research.

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