Design Optimization of a Capacitive Sensor for Mass Measurement of Nanometer-Sized Exhaust Carbon Particles
Keywords:capacitive sensing, nanometer-sized particulate mass, capacitive sensor, mass measurement
Nanometer-sized carbon particulates generated by incomplete combustion in heavy-duty vehicles are harmful to human health. A high-resolution technique is needed to detect and measure these pollutants. This study aims to optimize a capacitive sensor design for detecting and measuring particulates. Firstly, the effect of design parameters on particulate detection and sensor compliance sensitivity is investigated by using the finite element method. By comparing the simulation results with literature findings for performance validation, the sensor structure is optimized to detect lower particulate concentrations. The simulation result shows that particulate detection sensitivity has linear variations with changes in particulate mass. With optimum electrode spacing and top insulation layer thickness of 5 µm, the sensor can detect a particulate deposition of 0.033 mg/min and generate a maximum capacitance of 581 pF. Since the optimized design can measure particulate deposition at a lower range and with higher sensitivity, it is suitable to be applied to detect nanometer-sized carbon particulates.
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