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A VCII-Based Stray Insensitive Analog Interface for Differential Capacitance Sensors

Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(16), 3545;
Received: 10 July 2019 / Revised: 4 August 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Interfaces for Sensors)
PDF [5705 KB, uploaded 14 August 2019]


In this paper, a novel approach to implement a stray insensitive CMOS interface for differential capacitive sensors is presented. The proposed circuit employs, for the first time, second-generation voltage conveyors (VCIIs) and produces an output voltage proportional to differential capacitor changes. Using VCIIs as active devices inherently allows the circuit to process the signal in the current domain, and hence, to benefit from its intrinsic advantages, such as high speed and simple implementation, while still being able to natively interface with voltage mode signal processing stages at necessity. The insensitiveness to the effects of parasitic capacitances is achieved through a simple feedback loop. In addition, the proposed circuit shows a very simple and switch-free structure (which can be used for both linear and hyperbolic sensors), improving its accuracy. The readout circuit was designed in a standard 0.35 μm CMOS technology under a supply voltage of ±1.65 V. Before the integrated circuit fabrication, to produce tangible proof of the effectiveness of the proposed architecture, a discrete version of the circuit was also prototyped using AD844 and LF411 to implement a discrete VCII. The achieved measurement results are in good agreement with theory and simulations, showing a constant sensitivity up to 412 mV/pF, a maximum linearity error of 1.9%FS, and acknowledging a good behavior with low baseline capacitive sensors (10 pF in the proposed measurements). A final table is also given to summarize the key specs of the proposed work comparing them to the available literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: differential capacitive sensor; readout circuit; high sensitivity; VCII; parasitic insensitive differential capacitive sensor; readout circuit; high sensitivity; VCII; parasitic insensitive

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Barile, G.; Safari, L.; Ferri, G.; Stornelli, V. A VCII-Based Stray Insensitive Analog Interface for Differential Capacitance Sensors. Sensors 2019, 19, 3545.

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