Quantitative characterisation of conductive fibers by capacitive coupling†
This work presents a study on a capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detector (C4D) for micron-sized fibers. Following a previous report on the qualitative application of C4D for fibers, the present study provides a thorough analysis of the signal response to fiber conductivity. Using reduced graphene oxide (RGO) fibers, the detector response as a function of fiber length, cross-sectional area and resistance has been investigated. To study the effect of insulating coatings, Parylene-coated RGO fibers were also investigated. In addition, measurements were performed in different coupling environments, such as in a capillary tube or air. The analysis of the measured data allowed the determination of the C4D conductivity of various RGO fibers, and the correlation with contact methods through empirical relationships to be determined. It was found that the detection limit and sensitivity of resistance measurements are mainly dependent on the sensor design, and also on the fiber properties. The detection threshold can be defined as the ratio of the coupling impedance to fiber resistance. In our case, the detection limit was found for impedance ratios equal to 14. This limit sets a functioning mode in C4D for fibers, which may be used as an area or resistance detector for the impedance ratio above or below the detection threshold. A semi-log linear response of the fiber resistance to the voltage output was found for impedance ratios between 2.66 and 0.63. These impedance ratios may serve as a reference for designing C4D, depending on the fibers to be tested and the analytical information needed. In summary, we suggest that C4D has the capacity to emerge as a new characterisation tool for micron-sized fibers, due to its applicability to any conductive material, ease of use, and the contactless nature of the measurement.