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Multichannel lock-in amplifier

The MCL1-540 is a compact multichannel lock-in amplifier measurement system which can make complex AC and DC measurements on up to ten different analog signals. In addition it can generate excitation signals to drive the experiment, as well as measure the current delivered by these signals. It is therefore ideally suited to making direct impedance measurements on samples such as superconductors or in material analysis, as well as for use in optical, calorimetric, AC susceptibility, and many other experiments.

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The multi-channel digital lock-in amplifier SynkTek MCL1-540 (former model 9210 from Signal Recovery) is capable of demodulating up to ten voltage signals and five current signals simultaneously and in two phases. In addition, the signals, including DC components, can be displayed and analyzed via oscilloscope and FFT functions. The MCL1-540 can be operated and evaluated using the supplied software or LabView2016.

The MCL1-540 can be equipped with up to five signal processing modules, whereby each module can demodulate two voltage signals and one current signal referring to one reference frequency. The reference frequency can be generated either by the internal oscillator or by an external source.

In contrast to classic lock-in amplifiers, the digitized signals can be displayed graphically in real time in the frequency domain, both over time and via an FFT function, just like with an oscilloscope. DC components can also be displayed and evaluated at the same time.

Each module also has a digital input, which can be used as an external reference input, and a digital output.

RJ45 cables are used for signal connection, which are able to transmit several signals in a simple way. For the conventional connection via BNC a BB-BNC Breakout Box is available.

Key Specifications

  • DC – 100 kHz (500 kHz)
  • 30 demodulators X, Y, R, θ & DC
  • modular system: up to 10 voltage and 5 current measurements
  • different input options:
    • low noise 1.8 nV/√Hz, ~1 GOhm
    • medium 3.7 nV/√Hz, ~30 GOhm
    • high impedance 18 nV/√Hz, ~TOhm

Technical Specifications

The MCL1-540 is our flexible lock-in platform for highest requirements in research and development.

  • Syncronized lock-in measurements of up to 15 analog signals, each with multiple frequency analysis and DC separation
  • All modules fully integrated and synchronized
  • Simultaneous sampling ADCs and DACs – no multiplexing
  • Integrated low-noise preamplifier stages with high input impedance – no need for additional preamplifiers
  • Up to 3 sets of demodulators with independent frequencies for each input and output signal. Each demodulator set including synchronous DC, X, and Y
  • ADCs seamlessly auto-ranging for sub-nV signals up to ±10 V range with 6+ digit resolution
  • Up to 5 modules
  • 19″ rack mount
  • 1000BASE-T Ethernet and USB 2.0 interface

Module features

  • 2 differential analog inputs + 1 analog output per module
  • up to 5 modules per system
  • analog input:
    • Three different front-end amplifier options: Noise level ~1.8 nV/√Hz at 1 GΩ amplifier impedance (typ. 15 nA input bias current)
      • Noise level ~4 nV/√Hz at 30 GΩ amplifier impedance (<1 nA input bias current)
      • Noise level ~18 nV/√Hz at ~5 TΩ (typ. 10 pA input bias current)
    • Full range ±10 V, pre-amplification 1 to 5000 in 12 steps
    • DC & AC-coupling, 0.2 Hz break frequency
    • 18-bit ADCs at 1 MSPS
  • analog output:
    • 20-bit DAC at 1.33 MSPS
    • ±10 V, ±1 V and ±0.1 V full range
    • <10 nV/√Hz output noise at 0.1 V range
    • 50 mA output current
    • Integrated current measurement of output (full scales 50 mA/2 mA/100 µA/5 µA/250 nA)
    • Ground referenced & floating
  • Trigger/phase marker input & output

Lock-in features

  • Synchronized lock-in measurements of up to 15 analog signals, each with multiple frequency analysis and DC separation
  • Frequency range DC-500 kHz
  • Set of 15 lock-ins on arbitrary inputs and/or harmonics
  • Synchronous X, Y, DC, R and θ for each lock-in
  • Phase resolution 64 bit, integral resolution 96 bit
  • Option: 15 arbitrary harmonics
  • Up to 2 additional sets of 15 lock-ins on independent frequencies and time constants

Output features

  • Sine, square-wave, triangle, sawtooth
  • Frequency, amplitude, offset & duty cycle programmatically controllable
  • Demodulated signal output: X, Y, DC, R, θ
  • Options
    • Composite and modulated waveforms
    • Real-time feedback options
    • Additional frequencies

Other features

  • Waveform acquisition
  • FFT
  • Feedback loops


  • Control: 1000BASE-T Ethernet and USB 2.0
  • USB-host and SDHC card reader for data storage
  • Integrated web server
  • 40 W power supply, 60 W option
  • RJ45 (8P8C modular connectors) for analog signals

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