Capacitive Sensor Estimation Based on Self-Configurable Reference Capacitance
N. Petrellis, C. Spathis, K. Georgakopoulou and A. BirbasAffiliation:
Computer Science and Telecommunications Dept., TEI of Larisa, TEI Campus, Larisa 41110, Greece.
AbstractA number of capacitance readout systems presented in the literature and covered by recent patents are briefly described while a biosensor array readout system developed by the authors is presented in this paper. This biosensor array readout system is based on a charge sensitive amplifier that estimates accurately the difference between a selfconfigurable reference capacitance and a biosensor. In the specific implementation, the self-configurable reference capacitance is automatically configured to a value between 0 and 630pF in steps of 10pF. The configuration of the reference capacitance is controlled by a simple finite state machine that can be implemented using a simple CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device) such as Altera EPM7064SLC44-10. The proposed system can be used to measure an absolute biosensor capacitance of up to 640pF with a theoretical sensitivity of 2.5fF. The 2.5fF resolution can be achieved using a low cost/high accuracy 12-bit ADC (Analogue/Digital Converter) like a one that has been described by the authors in a recent patent instead of a 17-bit ADC that would be required to measure the biosensor capacitance value with the same accuracy if a constant 320pF reference capacitor had been used. For this reason, the proposed architecture leads to a lower area/power and higher accuracy implementation compared to a read out circuit that would use a fixed reference capacitance. Although the design of the proposed system was inspired by the development of a biosensor array readout system, a similar architecture can be used by any sensor application that should support a broad capacitive input range with high resolution.
Biosensor readout, configurable reference capacitors, analogue-to-digital conversion, charge sensitive amplifier, switched capacitance interface.
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