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A Digital Frequency-Locked Loop System for Capacitance Measurement

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2 Author(s)
Dean, R.N. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL, USA ; Rane, A.K.

Similar to phase-locked loops, frequency-locked loops (FLLs) are useful in many applications involving waveform synchronization or synthesis. Simple logic circuit-based relaxation oscillators convert capacitance to frequency, which is a characteristic inverse relationship between output frequency and input capacitance. The oscillator's logic level square-wave output can be fed into an all-digital FLL that will frequency lock to the input signal and produce a digital output word N, where N is inversely proportional to the input frequency. The result is that N is linearly proportional to the unknown capacitance in the oscillator. This novel approach allows a simple FFL implementation for capacitance measurement and is demonstrated in hardware using a capacitive sensor that measures the mass of small quantities of water with an output capacitance range of 75-185 pF.

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Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:62 ,  Issue: 4 )