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A Quadrature-Based Tunable Radio-Frequency Sensor for the Detection and Analysis of Aqueous Solutions

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3 Author(s)
Yan Cui ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC, USA ; Yuxi He ; Pingshan Wang

A highly tunable and sensitive radio-frequency (RF) sensor is presented for the measurement of aqueous-solution dielectric properties. Two quadrature hybrids are utilized to achieve destructive interference that eliminates the probing signals at both measurement ports. As a result, weak signals of material-under-test (MUT) are elevated for high sensitivity detections at different frequencies. The sensor is demonstrated through measuring 2-propanol-water solution permittivity at 0.01 mole fraction concentration level from ~ 4 GHz to ~ 12 GHz. De-ionized water and methanol-water solution are used to calibrate the sensor for quantitative MUT analysis through our proposed model. Micro-meter coplanar waveguides (CPW) are fabricated as RF sensing electrodes. A polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic channel is employed to introduce 250 nL liquid, of which ~ 1 nL is effectively the MUT. The permittivity and the relaxation time of 2-propanol-water solution are obtained. Compared with our power divider based sensors, the differential reflection coefficients in this work provide additional information that complements the transmission coefficient methods.

Published in:

Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, IEEE  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 7 )