A novel impedance sensor based on a microfluidic chip is presented. The sensor consists of two single-layer coils and a straight micro-channel, and can detect, not only ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic particles in oil as an inductive sensor, but also, water droplets and air bubbles in oil as a capacitive sensor. The experiments are carried out at different excitation frequencies, number of coil turns and particle sizes. For the inductance detection, the inductance signals are found to increase with the excitation frequency and the noise is constant; both the inductance signals and the noise increase with the number of coil turns, but because the noise increases at a faster rate than the signal, the signal-to-noise ratio decreases with the number of coil turns. We demonstrate the successful detection of 40 μm iron particles and 110 μm copper particles using the coil with 20 turns at the excitation frequency of 2 MHz. For the capacitance detection, capacitance signals decrease with the excitation frequency and the noise is constant; the capacitance signals decrease with the number of coil turns, while the noise increases, thus, the signal-to-noise ratio decreases with the number of coil turns. We can detect 100 μm water droplets and 180 μm bubbles successfully using the coil with 20 turns at the excitation frequency of 0.3 MHz.
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