Cryogenic-free VSM and ETO measurement system – Quantum Design, VersaLab

Federico Fernandez Baldis

The VersaLab is a cryogen-free physical property measurement system, suitable for magnetic and electrical characterization. It is capable to apply a magnetic field up to 3 T over a temperature range from 50 K up to 400 K. The basic options are the vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) and the electrical transport option (ETO). In addition, it has an oven option for the VSM to extend the temperature range up to 1000 K.


The VersaLab VSM option is a fast and sensitive DC magnetometer that consists primarily of a linear motor transport (VSM head) for vibrating the sample and a coil set for detection (pickup coil). The basic measurement is performed by oscillating the sample near the pickup coil and synchronously detecting the voltage induced. With a relatively large oscillation amplitude (1–3 mm peak) and a frequency of 40 Hz, the system can resolve magnetization changes of less than 1 µemu with 1 s data averaging. Two coilset pucks are available for different sample sizes. In case of flat samples (films), measurements in both in-plane and out-of-plane configurations are possible. For most uses, the standard coilset puck provides the best trade-off between sensitivity and accuracy. The sensitivity is not significantly affected by large magnetic fields, so the VSM can perform sensitive measurements up to the maximum field of 3 T. The standard working temperature range of the VersaLab (50–400 K) could be extended for the VSM option up to 1000 K thanks to the Oven kit, for which it is necessary to use a special sample holder.


The VersaLab ETO supports three types of measurements: resistance, IV curves and differential resistance, over a wide range of resistance values and sample types. Measurements are usually made by applying a sinusoidal AC drive current and measuring the AC voltage response. However, a special 2-wire high resistance mode is available where an AC voltage is applied, and the AC current response is measured with a current amplifier. The ETO’s current source has a range from 1 nA to a maximum current of 100 mA, and it is capable of supplying both DC and AC current with frequencies from 0.1 Hz to 200 Hz. Three preamplifiers in conjunction with the current source get the ETO a noise floor of 10 nΩ and allow measurements of resistances up to 5 GΩ.

Sample requirements

Samples should have a maximum size in the XY plane of 4 mm (7 mm) for the small (big) coilset. The exact mounting of the sample depends on the experiment and can be user-defined.

VSM option

RMS sensitivity< 1 µemu with 1 sec averaging
Sample size in XY plane4 mm for standard coilset and 7 mm for big coilset
Position in Z axis35 mm from the bottom
Temperature range50 K to 400 K, and up to 1000 K with Oven kit
Magnetic field range3 T max.


ETO option

Sensitivity1 nV at 100 mA
Resolution10 nW at 100 mA
DC and AC drive amplitude10 nA to 100 mA
Resistance range10 µΩ to 5 GΩ
Temperature range50 K to 400 K
Magnetic field range3 T max.