A comparative analysis between customized and commercial systems for complex permittivity measurements on liquid samples at microwave frequencies

Emanuele Piuzzi, Caterina Merla, Giuseppe Cannazza, Alessandro Zambotti, Francesca Apollonio, Andrea Cataldo, Paolo D'Atanasio, Egidio De Benedetto, Micaela Liberti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, different customized systems for microwave permittivity measurements on liquid samples, based on reflectometric measurements, are presented and analyzed. Their performance is compared against the one deriving from the most widely adopted commercial measurement setup. The systems are designed with the aim of providing less expensive solutions without compromising measurement accuracy. The purpose of the first proposed solution is to replace the commercial measurement software exploiting a reformulation of the classical theory. Based on this alternative formulation, a 'homemade' probe is built by properly modifying an N-type coaxial connector, thus providing a system requiring a lower quantity of liquid under test. Moreover, a different experimental approach which uses time-domain reflectometry (TDR) instrumentation is presented. Such solution is by far the least expensive, as it allows avoiding the use of costly instrumentation (such as a vector network analyzer). In order to metrologically characterize the proposed solutions, a series of repeated measurements is performed on a set of well-referenced liquids. After extracting the Cole-Cole parameters through each of the considered measurement methods, the resulting type A uncertainty is evaluated. Finally, comparison with literature data allows the estimation of measurement bias. The analysis evidences that custom solutions generally exhibit an accuracy comparable to the one of the commercial solution, with a slight degradation of performance for the TDR-based setup, which, however, compensates for this drawback with its appealing low cost. © 1963-2012 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6415269
Pages (from-to)1034 - 1046
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Instrumentation

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