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Impedance Overview

The electrical impedance of a material or device refers to the extent to which it opposes the flow of an electrical current. Impedance comprises inductance, capacitance and resistance, and is often represented as a complex value to allow for the inclusion of the phase between the testing voltage and measured current.

Impedance measurements represent a non-destructive way to probe the properties of a material or device by injecting a sinusoidal voltage and measuring the returning current with a phase-sensitive technique. When varying the signal frequency, impedance spectroscopy yields critical information about the frequency-dependent behavior of the sample and thus provides a fundamental characterization of its dielectric properties.

Whether you are characterizing a semiconductor junction with DLTS or developing a wearable biosensor, Zurich Instruments' products deliver accurate, fast measurements and give you access to an advanced toolset for data acquisition and analysis. Furthermore, our instruments cover the low frequency and high impedance range that is out of reach to traditional impedance analyzers.

These capabilities – unique in a single instrument – unlock a measurement parameter space that allows you to characterize your samples according to your requirements. LabOne®, the powerful software interface that runs on all our instruments, supports application programming interfaces (APIs) for five popular scripting languages to enable you to integrate our impedance analyzers into existing setups.

Connecting our instruments to the device under test is also straightforward. You can use the MFITF test fixture – included with the MFIA Impedance Analyzer – to take advantage of quick-change sample carriers; alternatively, it is possible to connect your own fixture or cable set directly to the instrument's front panel. A compensation tool in LabOne enables you to handle the fixture's parasitics.

MFIA Front

Click to find out more about the MFIA.

Five reasons to use Zurich Instruments for impedance characterization

  • Acquiring accurate impedance parameters on a fast timescale allows you to characterize the transient behavior of your device, sensor or tissue sample.
  • You can capture the quasi-static processes taking place in your dielectric materials, supercapacitors or ageing measurements by accessing frequencies as low as 1 mHz.
  • Perform measurements with high confidence thanks to the LabOne Confidence Indicators. Whether your data acquisition takes place in the time or the frequency domain, you can rely on high precision and accuracy.
  • You can quickly reject the parasitic impedance of your fixture, probe or cables, using the LabOne Compensation Advisor.
  • Automating your measurements takes minutes, as all LabOne modules are controlled via the included APIs. This allows you to integrate impedance measurements into your existing laboratory setup.

Frequency-domain tools: Bode and Nyquist plots

Transients measured with square voltage pulse

Fast sweeps with the DAQ module

Impedance at two simultaneous frequencies

In the Sweeper module, the Nyquist plot captures the moment when an inductor transitions from inductive to capacitive behaviour; the Bode plot shows the full behavior from low to high frequency.


Nyquist and Bode plots in LabOne

Monitor multiple traces in real time using the Plotter module. Applied DC voltage pulses, along with the resulting capacitance and current, are shown on the same plot.


Square pulses in LabOne's Plotter tool

Acquire data using a variety of triggers. In this example, the DAQ module acquires a frequency sweep of impedance data by triggering every 300 ms.


Impedance data in the DAQ module of LabOne

Measure impedance at two frequencies simultaneously. The Plotter module displays the inductance at 100 kHz and the resistance at 1 kHz.


Simultaneous measurement of impedance at different frequencies in LabOne

Device characterization

Material analysis

Biological impedance

Deep Level Transient Spectroscopy Application Diagram using the Zurich Instruments MFIA Impedance Analyzer
Material analysis with the MFIA Impedance Analyzer
Electrical bioimpedance measurement setup with the Zurich Instruments MFIA
  • Dielectrics
  • Piezoelectrics
  • Ceramics and composites
  • Solar materials
  • Solid-state electrolytes and membranes
  • Thin films and nanostructures
  • Geo-impedance

Browse through our impedance application pages and get in touch with us to discuss your requirements. We will be happy to set up remote demonstrations of our instruments in the context of impedance measurements.

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