The purpose of this paper is to present the sensing mechanism, design issues, performance evaluation and applications for planar capacitive sensors. In the context of characterisation and imaging of a dielectric material under test (MUT), a systematic study of sensor modelling, features and design issues is needed. In addition, the influencing factors on sensitivity distribution, and the effect of conductivity on sensor performance need to be further studied for planar capacitive sensors.
While analytical methods can provide accurate solutions to sensors of simple geometries, numerical modelling is preferred to obtain sensor response to different design parameters and properties of MUT, and to derive the sensitivity distributions of various electrode designs. Several important parameters have been used to evaluate the response of the sensors in different sensing modes. The designs of different planar capacitive sensor arrays are presented and experimentally evaluated.
The response features and design guidelines for planar capacitive sensors in different sensing modes have been summarised, showing that the sensor in the transmission mode or the single‐electrode mode is suitable for material characterisation and imaging, while the sensor in the shunt mode is suitable for proximity/displacement measurement. The sensitivity distribution of the sensor depends largely on the geometry of the electrodes. Conductivity causes positive changes for the sensor in the transmission and single‐electrode mode, but negative changes for the sensor in the shunt mode. Experimental results confirm that sensing depths of the sensor arrays and the influence of buried conductor on capacitance measurements are in agreement with simulations.
Experimental verification is needed when a sensor is designed.
This paper provides a comprehensive study for planar capacitive sensors in terms of sensor design, evaluation and applications.
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