Shown: DPATCH-2 System with two headstages

Now With Dynamic Clamp!

The dPatch® amplifier system was built around a simple idea: What if we built a clean-sheet design that used the latest technology to make the next generation of patch clamp amplifiers? We hired the best hardware and software designers available in the industry, the same engineers who created the leading amplifiers already in the market. We asked them to design the best amplifier system possible, using the very latest in digital architecture, and pair it with a contemporary, easy-to-use, yet powerful software platform.

The resulting design represents a complete rethinking of how to best reduce noise and preserve signal to get the cleanest recordings possible, at a bandwidth that far exceeds anything else on the market. The dPatch amplifier system's digital architecture uses state-of-the-art methods in signal processing, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and Arm Core processors – technologies unavailable when the leading amplifiers in the market were designed well over 20 years ago. The processing power of this design FINALLY enables fully integrated dynamic clamp, as well as digital capacitance and resistance compensation. The included SutterPatch® Software facilitates data acquisition, mangement and analysis with an intuitive and easy to learn interface.

Available in either a single- or dual-headstage configuration, the dPatch amplifier system’s architecture makes swapping headstages, or adding a second one to a single-headstage unit, a plug-and-play operation. The two headstages are independently configurable for either voltage clamp or FastFollower™ current clamp.


Sutter has a long history of standing by our products and continually improving them. While other amplifiers on the market haven't been updated in 20 years, the dPatch will continue to be developed and supported WELL into the future. All of our products are built in the USA, and we offer free support should you need any help.


One unique feature with dPatch is the headstage data sampling system. Each headstage is continually sampled at 5 MHz. Output filtering has thirteen settings between 100 Hz and 1 MHz. A resolution of 18 bits is achieved at 1 MHz. For lower filter settings, automatic downsampling increases resolution while optimizing data rates. At a bandwidth setting of 1 kHz, the dPatch system provides a signal resolution of better than 22 bits.


Active cooling causes numerous problems that actually create more "noise" in the long run. Active cooling in amplifier headstages use Peltier cells, which cool the electronics for slightly better performance, but generate considerable heat on the opposite side of the cell. The heat generated causes thermal drift which makes it almost impossible to stay patched while doing single-channel work. This is THE MOST COMMON source of what users perceive as "manipulator drift". As a company that makes micromanipulators, we are highly sensitive to the performance of the system within a complete electrophysiology rig.

Active cooling can help get a slightly better noise specification on paper, but in the real world the disadvantages far outweigh the slight gain in specsmanship. One of the development goals of the dPatch headstage was achieving a comparable noise performance at room temperature, without the need for a cooled headstage. In the two resistive feedback modes, the dPatch amplifier is even quieter than any of the competitor systems. In addition, the limited life expectancy of Peltier elements causes reliability concerns that we found unacceptable.


Using a multiplexer-free design, the dPatch provides 8 fully differential analog input channels, 4 analog output channels, and 16 digital outputs (TTL). All I/O channels are sampled continuously (200 kHz for analog inputs, 250 kHz for analog and digital outputs) and available through the user interface.


The dPatch amplifier system, in combination with SutterPatch software, has been engineered to automatically capture and store all amplifier settings, stimulus information and external experiment parameters, and associate them in time with the raw data traces. This includes all amplifier and acquisition settings, as well as timing and progress of the experiment. Fully integrated computer control of the amplifier stages means that the acquisition software is aware of the internal state of the amplifier and digitizer at all times and can track any changes that may occur. This is independent of whether a change is triggered automatically or initiated by the user.


The patented digital architecture of the dPatch amplifier system provides an ideal platform for dynamic clamp. The dPatch is powered by a system-on-chip which provides parallel processing across a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and two high-speed ARM core processors. Several sophisticated dynamic clamp models are implemented within this architecture. In each model, the update of the applied current values occurs without communication between the dPatch and a computer. Depending upon the complexity of the model, update rates of up to 500 kHz can be achieved. (read more on the SutterPatch Software page)


In addition to status changes in connected hardware that are automatically tracked, the researcher can manually trigger tags to document events like stimulus application using instruments not connected to the amplifier. Information about environmental parameters and a more detailed specification of sample properties can be recorded and stored with the raw data. A total of over 650 metadata attributes are supported. Examples include: animal species, genotype, date/time when a cell sample was prepared, recording solutions, pipette resistance, hardware properties, and detailed information about stimuli applied.


SutterPatch software has been designed to simplify the navigation and analysis of complex datasets. The scope window supports multiple view modes in both two-dimensional and an innovative three-dimensional display. The 3D view is particularly useful during assay development. Built on top of the latest version of the proven Igor Pro platform, SutterPatch combines native Igor Pro functionality with a wealth of features that are tailored to electrophysiology applications. Both the newcomer and the experienced user of patch clamp programs will feel comfortable using SutterPatch software.

Application modules provide focused functionality for particular applications.

Currently available:

  • Event Detection Module: A deconvolution algorithm that excels at detecting miniature synaptic events even on a noisy background.
  • Action Potential Analysis Module: Phase plane plot, timing and waveform statistics.
  • Camera Module: An easy way to document the identity and condition of the recorded cell.


While the dPatch System is ready for cutting-edge research, its feature set makes it immediately valuable in any lab setting.

  • Three headstage feedback ranges for optimal whole-cell and single-channel recording
  • Automated compensation of electrode and whole-cell capacitance
  • Series resistance compensation
  • Simple cabling, quick and easy set-up
  • High dynamic range of digitizer means no need for variable gain stages
  • High speed of digitizer means no concern about sample rate

  • Single-channel recordings
  • Auditory research and other rapidly changing signals
  • Tissue slice recordings
  • Cultured cell experiments
  • Cell line studies from adherent or dispersed cells
  • Optogenetics
  • Nanopore and nanogap research
  • Free technical support
  • Fully integrated single- or dual-headstage patch clamp amplifier and data acquisition system ensures quick and easy setup
  • Optimized for single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp recordings in tissue slices, adherent or dissociated cells
  • Full computer control provides automated compensation of electrode and whole cell capacitance
  • Voltage clamp, FastFollower™ current clamp and fully integrated dynamic clamp capability for complete characterization of cells' electrical activity
  • Line frequency reduction in SutterPatch
  • Software lock-in amplifier in SutterPatch for high-resolution capacitance measurements
  • High bandwidth enables characterization of the fastest signals
  • Three headstage feedback ranges for single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp recordings
  • Comprehensive digital compensation circuitry provides the utmost precision and signal fidelity
  • Bundled SutterPatch® software provides versatile data management, intuitive navigation and streamlined data analysis.


Ground Point
The Ground Point GP-17 provides reliable, low resistance connections for a star ground configuration, the proven method to avoid ground loops in any electrophysiology setup. Accepts 9 banana plugs + 8 bare wires up to 10 gauge or banana plugs. The baseplate mounts directly on imperial or metric air table tops with the included ¼-20 and M6 screws. Made of solid, machined brass with plated banana/clamp connectors.

dPatch Expansion Panel


Q: How does dPatch® compare to other amplifiers on the market?
A: The dPatch uses current state-of-the-art digital architecture. By converting the signal from analog to digital out near the headstage, we preserve the signal integrity as much as is possible. Almost every noise specification of the dPatch exceeds those of all other amplifiers on the market. In addition, the dPatch constitutes a complete patch clamp system, all data acquisition hard-and software are included, and no external hardware is required for dynamic clamp. (see our comparison sheet)

Q: Why doesn't the dPatch have active cooling?
A: Active cooling causes numerous problems that actually create more "noise" in the long run. The heat generated by Peltier cells cause thermal drift in manipulators, making it almost impossible to stay patched while doing single-channel work. As a company that makes micromanipulators, we are highly sensitive to the performance of the system within a complete electrophysiology rig. Active cooling can help get a slightly better noise specification on paper, but in the real world the disadvantages far outweigh the slight gain in specsmanship (See the Comparison Sheet). In addition, the limited life expectancy of Peltier elements causes reliability concerns that we found unacceptable.

Q: Do I need to buy a digitizer or software with the dPatch?
A: No, because the dPatch is inherently a digital design, no additional digitizer is necessary. SutterPatch® software and a license for IgorPro are included with every dPatch system. The dPatch includes everything you need to start running experiments.

Q: Can I retrofit a second headstage to my single-headstage dPatch system later?
A: Yes, dPatch headstage/preamplifier units are interchangeable and self-contained. All calibration and tuning information is stored directly in the headstage/preamplifier unit and read during startup. That makes adding a second headstage easy.

Q: Do the headstages fit on my existing micromanipulator?
A: All Sutter Instrument headstages come with a standard dovetail fitting. This fitting was jointly introduced by Sutter Instrument and Axon Instruments almost 30 years ago and has since been adopted by most manufacturers of patch clamp amplifiers and micromanipulators. That makes Sutter headstages a drop-in replacement on an existing rig, in most cases without even requiring any adjustment.

Meet the dPatch Development and Support Team!

Jan Dolzer
Product Manager

After graduation in biology in Marburg, Germany using various electrophysiological recording techniques, I joined Axon Instruments and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. During several mergers Axon went through, I worked in application support and product management, covering automated and conventional patch clamp instrumentation and software. Having collected experience at Sutter Instrument and HEKA Elektronik after leaving Axon/Molecular Devices, I rejoined Sutter in 2014 and have since managed the Patch Clamp Systems product family.

Rich Lobdill
Senior Systems Engineer

I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1981 with a degree in Electronic Engineering. My first job with Fairchild Test Systems involved high precision, computer controlled analog instrumentation. I've had the good fortune to build a career of designing precision instrumentation that pushes the limits of device physics. My main fields of concentration have been amplifiers for neuroscience research and functional neurosurgery as well as low-noise read-out electronics and control systems for science grade astronomy cameras. My position at Sutter is Senior Systems Engineer. The last few years have been focused on designing the dPatch Patch Clamp Amplifier. The unique architecture maximizes the trade-offs of analog and digital circuitry to bring to the market a low-noise, high-bandwidth amplifier that will open new opportunities in research.

Greg Hjelmstad
Product Engineer

I received my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Duke University in 1988 and my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco in 1997 where I studied mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Malenka. Following a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Howard Fields, I joined the Department of Neurology as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, investigating the neural mechanisms of drugs of abuse. I joined Sutter Instruments in 2014 to develop the IPA® line of amplifiers.

Aaron Best
Product Development

I joined Sutter Instrument Company in 2011 after learning whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology and two-photon imaging while working as a post-doctoral fellow in Wade Regehr's laboratory at Harvard Medical School. I work with both the electrophysiology and imaging groups here at Sutter Instrument Company. I wrote the firmware for the FPGA and processors within the dPatch amplifier system.

Telly Galiatsatos
Technical Support / Product Development

Back in the summer of 1987 as I was completing my Computer Science degree at Queens College, I joined InstruTECH Corporation as a summer intern. InstruTECH was a small Long Island biotech company which a mutual friend thought would be a great place to get some “real world” electronics / programming experience. Little did I know that for the next twenty years I would be involved in various job functions, which included Product Development, General Manager and Customer service. With the untimely death of InstruTECH’s owner and good friend, Milan Kesler, I joined HEKA Elektronik in August 2007. I continued with HEKA for another eight years as the Site Manager for their New York office, before joining Sutter in May 2015. At Sutter I have the privilege of continuing my career alongside some old and new friends, while developing great new products and interfacing with our customers.

Hubert Affolter
Product Development

I graduated in 1980 in Biochemistry at the Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland. My thesis work employed a variety of techniques, including ion sensitive electrodes and optical dyes. From 1980 to 1983 I did neurobiology research using optical methods, such as light scattering and optical dyes, at the Institut für Lehre und Forschung (ZLF) at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland. My second postdoctoral position in biophysics, doing painted bilayers and ion channel reconstitution, was at the State University of North Carolina from 1984 to 1986. Between 1986 and 1988 I had the opportunity to work at the department of Physiology at Yale University Medical School, USA, as Associate Research Scientist. I was involved in patch-clamp recordings and development of the computer controlled patch-clamp amplifiers: The EPC9 amplifier and its derivatives. In 1989, I joined InstruTECH as Software Engineer, staying involved in the development and marketing of the EPC9 amplifier and its related acquisition systems and software, the PULSE program family. In 1991 I joined HEKA Elektronik in Germany as a Senior Software Architect, being involved in the development of the EPC9 and EPC10 patch-clamp amplifiers. I developed most of HEKA’s software applications, including the PatchMaster family. In 2016, I joined the Patch Clamp Systems team at Sutter Instrument Company, Novato CA, USA, as a Senior Software Architect, working and having fun in the development of the dPatch Amplifier System and SutterPatch Software.

Burt Maertz
Documentation / Q.A.

Originally from Hawaii, I did my undergraduate work in both computer science and psychology at UC Santa Cruz. After supporting a wide range of high-tech products in Silicon Valley, I was hired in 1991 by Alan Finkel, the founder of Axon Instruments, to support their new pCLAMP 5 software and digitizers (and then imaging systems.) Later under Axon/Molecular Devices, I became product line manager for all “manual” electrophysiology, and editor of The Axon Guide 3rd edition update. Now at Sutter Instrument for 5 years, I provide documentation, testing and consultation on the newest evolution in (Sutter) patch-clamp systems: ultra-fast patch amplifiers coupled with high-speed dynamic clamping, the next frontier!

The dPatch Integrated Digital Patch Clamp Amplifier is a computer-controlled single- or dual-headstage system optimized for both single-channel and whole-cell recording applications.

back panel of dPatch. (Click for larger view)


  • Hardware architecture enables all data conversion to be performed near the preparation, well away from known noise sources, such as power supplies and high-speed digital circuitry.
  • Voltage clamp and true current clamp modes with smart switching between modes to avoid current artifacts
  • Three choices of headstage feedback elements to optimize both single-channel and whole-cell recording
  • Feedback
    10 kHz BW
    ±20 nA
    1 MHz
    < 0.22 pArms
    20 pF
    500 MΩ
    ±20 nA
    > 250 kHz
    < 0.7 pArms
    20 pF
    100 MΩ
    100 pF
    50 MΩ
    ±200 nA
    > 250 kHz
    < 2.3 pArms
    20 pF
    10 MΩ
    1000 pF
    * Capacitive feedback range is optimized for single-channel voltage clamp recordings. Whole-cell compensation and current clamp mode are disabled with this range.

  • Automatic compensation routines for pipette compensation and whole-cell compensation, and series resistance compensation
  • Series resistance prediction and correction independently programmable
  • 8-pole Bessel filter 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000 kHz
  • Signal processing of filter output to increase resolution and reduce data file size
  • Resolution over 22 bits at 1 kHz filter setting
  • High dynamic range of analog to digital converters alleviates need for variable output gain stages
  • Holding potential ±1000 mV
  • Current clamp bridge compensation and pipette capacitance compensation
  • Slow holding potential tracking compensates for drift during current clamp recordings

Data Acquisition

  • Embedded data acquisition system eliminates the need for an external data acquisition board
    • 5 MHz sampling rate per headstage, 22-bit resolution
    • 8 Auxiliary analog inputs, 16-bit fully differential, ±10 V input, each continuously sampled at 200 kHz
    • 4 Analog outputs, 16-Bits, ±10 V output each continuously updated at 250 kHz
    • 16 Digital outputs (TTL) each running at 250 kHz
    • Independent Trigger IN / Trigger OUT for synchronization of external instrumentation
  • Single SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection controls data acquisition and amplifier
  • Complex command waveforms
  • Data acquisition can be initiated by an onboard microsecond clock or external (TTL) trigger

SutterPatch Software

  • Built on the foundation of Igor Pro 8 (WaveMetrics, Inc.)
  • Paradigms and Routines provide complete experimental control
  • Waveform Editor for easy creation of even the most complex stimulus patterns or user-defined templates
  • Associated Metadata stores all relevant information regarding your experiment
  • Comprehensive data analysis routines and publication-quality graphics
  • Rapid-response online line-frequency reduction
  • Runs on Windows 10 or later (64-bit), or Macintosh OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer versions

Screenshot of SutterPatch Software


dPatch: 19 in x 11 in x 3.5 in | 48.2 cm x 28 cm x 9 cm

dPatch Preamplifier: 7.6 in x 3.5 in x 1.2 in | 19.5 cm x 9 cm x 3 cm

dPatch Headstage: 3.7 in x 1.1 in x 0.66 in | 9.5 cm x 2.9 cm x 1.7 cm

dPatch: 15 lbs | 6.8 kg

110/240 Volts
50/60 Hertz power line

*Patent No. US 10,393,727 B2

RoHS Compliant

DPATCH CE Certificate



    Minimum Configuration:
  • Windows 10 (64-bit), or MacOS: 10.11, El Capitan or later1
  • Processor: Dual-core i52
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Solid-state drive (SSD): 500 GB or greater
  • Display Resolution: 1024 x 768 (XGA)
  • 1 available USB 3.0 SuperSpeed port (on the main board, not a PCIx card or similar)3

    Recommended Configuration for Bandwidths of >50 kHz:
  • Windows 10 (64-bit), or MacOS: 10.11, El Capitan or later1
  • Processor: Dual-core i52
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • Solid-state drive (SSD): 500 GB or greater
  • Display resolution 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 1 available USB 3.0 SuperSpeed port (on the main board, not a PCIx card or similar)3

SUTTERPATCH® Data Acquisition Management System and Analysis Software: Included with all Sutter Instrument Amplifier Systems

1 Operating systems installed within virtualization software platforms such as VMware and Parallels are not supported.

2 At this point, WaveMetrics does not fully support Igor Pro on Mac computers based on the Apple Silicon M1 architecture. See for technical details. Preliminary experiments indicate that SutterPatch Software runs on these computers, both under Igor Pro 8 and 9, and with each of the Sutter Amplifier Systems connected. However, as with each new technology, we cannot fully exclude incompatibilities.

3 USB 3.0 ports are compatible with USB 2.0 High Speed specifications.
Slower USB 2.0 ‘full-speed’ ports, which are sometimes found on older Windows PCs or USB add-in cards, are not supported.

To check for High Speed USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 on a PC computer running Windows, look in the Control Panel > Device Manager > Universal Serial Bus controllers section for “Enhanced” host controllers. As this does not provide any mapping information to the computer’s physical ports, and there can be a mix of USB port versions, you should check individual USB ports for USB 2.0/3.0 High Speed operational performance. As a visual indicator, USB 3.0 ports are often color coded blue.

USB hubs are not supported. USB add-in cards, even if they formally meet High Speed or Super Speed specifications, are not recommended. They are often architecturally configured as USB hubs and may lead to intermittent transfer errors that are hard to troubleshoot.

US Prices > dPatch®
International prices vary by country. Please contact your local distributor or Sutter Instrument for a quotation. Prices subject to change without notice.

Catalog Number Description Price
DPATCH Includes: dPatch system with one headstage and preamplifier, EH-P170 pipette holder, model cell, screw terminal for digital outputs, rack mounting hardware; SutterPatch® software suite with Igor Pro license $ 27,929
DPATCH-2 Includes: dPatch system with two headstages and preamplifiers, two EH-P170 pipette holders, two model cells, screw terminals for digital outputs, rack mounting hardware; SutterPatch® software suite with Igor Pro license $ 33,772


Catalog Number Description Price
IGOR-9UP Upgrade from WaveMetrics Igor Pro version 8 to version 9. Submit the current serial number when ordering (Help > About Igor Pro). For upgrades from older versions, contact Sutter Instrument or WaveMetrics. $ 255
DPATCH-PHS Headstage & Preamp for dPatch Amplifier $ 7,598
DPATCH-PCH dPatch Expansion panel $ 1,049
EH-P170 Polycarbonate pipette holder 1.0-1.7 mm O.D. $ 222
EH-P170-S Polycarbonate pipette holder (short shaft) 1.0-1.7 mm O.D. $ 222
GP-17 Ground point, accepts banana plugs and clamp wires up to 10 gauge $ 294
GP-W10 Ground wiring kit, 10 assorted cables, 5 alligator clips, assorted clamp rings $ 328
RACK-PK Rack mounting hardware $ 22

NavePoint Equipment Racks

Catalog Number Description Price
RACK-22U 22U 2-post open frame rack with casters $ 217
RACK-42U 42U 2-post open frame rack with casters $ 248
RACK-CS-8 1 U shelf, 8" (210mm) deep with lip. $ 47
RACK-CS-16 2 U shelf 16" (350mm) deep with lip. $ 54