Transmission Lines in Capacitance Measurement Systems: An Investigation of Receiver Structures

Matthias Flatscher, Markus Neumayer*, Thomas Bretterklieber, Hannes Wegleiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dielectric sensing based on capacitive measurement technology is a favourable measurement approach in many industries and fields of application. From an electrical point of view, a coupling capacitance must be measured in the presence of stray capacitances. Different receiver circuit structures have been proposed for the underlying displacement current measurement. Ideally, the sensor assembly is directly connected to the sensor circuitry to minimize the influence with respect to these parasitic capacitances. However, under harsh operating conditions, e.g., at high temperatures, the sensor and the receiver circuit must be separated in order to protect the electronics. Consequently, the receiver circuit and the sensor have to be connected by cables, e.g., coaxial cables. The measurement setup differs significantly from the ideal design with a direct connection. In this paper, we investigate the behaviour of three common measurement circuits for capacitive measurements in instrumentations with cables. We study the interaction between the sensor and the electronics and analyse the operating behaviour of the circuit, as well as the operating states of the amplifiers used. We also address cross-sensitivities in the sensor design due to stray capacitances. The analyses are carried out for different cable lengths and measuring frequencies, and conditions for the usability of the circuit are deduced. In addition to the operational behaviour, we also evaluate the circuits by means of a noise analyses. Based on this analysis, we show a direct comparison of the circuits. The analysis is based on simulation studies, as well as collaborative measurements on test circuits where all circuit parameters are provided. The test circuits are realized with dedicated state-of-the-art circuit elements and, together with the analysis approach and the results, thus provide a basis for future developments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1148
Number of pages27
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • frequency-spectroscopy
  • impedance transformation
  • noise
  • radio frequency
  • receiver circuit
  • SNR
  • transmission line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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