Radio Science

Laboratory measurement of material electrical properties: Extending the application of lumped-circuit equivalent models to 1 GHz


  • Tsylya M. Levitskaya,

  • Ben K. Sternberg


For measurements of material electrical properties in a frequency range from 1 kHz to 1 GHz, we used a laboratory method based on the concept of lumped R, L, and C circuit elements. While this method has typically been used at frequencies of less than 100 MHz, we have extended its application up to 1 GHz. The complex electrical parameters of a material, such as resistivity, conductivity, and dielectric permittivity were obtained by measuring magnitude Z and phase ϕ of the sample impedance Z. We relate the material electrical parameters to either series or parallel lumped-circuit equivalent models. Depending on the frequency range, two different designs of the sample holder can be used: (1) a parallel-plate capacitor with disk electrodes, for low frequencies (from 1 kHz to 100 MHz), and (2) a coaxial capacitor, for a broad band up to higher frequencies (from 1 kHz to 1 GHz). Measured values of the sample impedance usually include errors due to effects from the sample holder and its connections to the instrument. These effects, caused by the inductance, resistance, and stray capacitance of the measuring system, are taken into account. Our measurements of several standard materials, including air, Teflon, octanol, butanol, and methanol, showed that the relative standard deviation from the mean for the dielectric permittivity (in the range where it is frequency independent) is typically less than 1%. The difference between our mean values and previously published values for these standard materials is also less than 1%.