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Inline Microwave Characterization System for Multi-layer Composites

With the advancements made in nano-fiber conductive or dielectric film composites, there is a major technology gap in techniques that offer non-contact measurement of frequency dependent electrical properties like permittivity, permeability, conductivity, surface resistance, etc. of these single and multi-layer composites quickly and accurately over a broad range of frequencies. This need is also prevalent in large scale material manufacturing industries where non-destructive online evaluation in real time of composite materials can help identify defective materials early in the manufacturing process. With funding from NIST, PaneraTech has created a table top non-contact broadband material measurement system and is developing an industry standard solution for real time material quality testing with live feedback. Performance validation has been done with standard dielectric samples and nano-fiber resistive materials. A key component of the system is wideband antenna probes that are designed to focus the electromagnetic beam on the composite film and reduce any spurious reflections, surface waves and diffractions at the film edges to achieve higher accuracy in material characterization. We have also developed our own material property extraction methods and unique system pre-calibration technique to simplify the usage and integration.

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