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Special Issue: Modern Sensing Technologies

Vol. 90, April 2008, pp. 100-116



Resistive and Capacitive Based Sensing Technologies


1Winncy Y. Du and 2Scott W. Yelich
1San Jose State University, San Jose, USA

2S&W Consultants, Santa Clara, USA

E-mail: winncy.du@sjsu.edu, swyelich@sbcglobal.net



Received: 15 October 2007   /Accepted: 20 February 2008   /Published: 15 April 2008


Abstract: Resistive and capacitive (RC) sensors are the most commonly used sensors. Their applications span homeland security, industry, environment, space, traffic control, home automation, aviation, and medicine. More than 30% of modern sensors are direct or indirect applications of the RC sensing principles. This paper reviews resistive and capacitive sensing technologies. The physical principles of resistive sensors are governed by several important laws and phenomena such as Ohmís Law, Wiedemann-Franz Law; Photoconductive-, Piezoresistive-, and Thermoresistive Effects. The applications of these principles are presented through a variety of examples including accelerometers, flame detectors, pressure/flow rate sensors, RTDs, hygristors, chemiresistors, and bio-impedance sensors. The capacitive sensors are described through their three configurations: parallel (flat), cylindrical (coaxial), and spherical (concentric). Each configuration is discussed with respect to its geometric structure, function, and application in various sensor designs. Capacitance sensor arrays are also presented in the paper.


Keywords: Resistive sensors, Capacitive sensors, Sensor arrays, Sensor design


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