Build your Business
40 hours - Holst Centre / imec the Netherlands

Student project: A miniaturized 4-electrode conductivity sensor

Job details


Develop a design model for a 4-electrode conductivity sensor.

What you will do

Conductivity is one of the most often determined fluid parameters and is a measure for the total amount of dissolved ions. To determine conductivity, the resistance of a fluid sample located in the area between at least two electrodes is determined by impedance spectroscopy. The conductivity is then given by multiplying the measured conductance with, the so-called cell constant of the sensor (Kcell). The conductivity range that can be determined with a sensor depends on the chosen Kcell. This implies that a correct conductivity sensor has to be chosen, fitting with the expected concentration range in the targeted application. Commercial conductivity sensors embed two parallel planar electrodes (with a certain area and distance that define the Kcell). Such a geometry is difficult to miniaturize. However. Timmer et al [1] describe how planar interdigitated 2-electrode sensors on chip can be designed and how the Kcell value can be derived. Timmer’s findings we have been reproduced. A disadvantage of the 2-electrode conductivity sensor is the large electrode-electrolyte interface resistance which can no longer be ignored in solutions with a high conductivity. To minimize this interference, a 4-electrode sensor can be used, in which one pair of electrodes are injecting the current, while the other pair are sensing the voltage. We have extended this concept to microfabricated 4-electrodes conductivity sensor. These geometries are tested and the Kcell is determined. For optimizing the sensor design, new designs and sensors have to be made and tested, this process have to be repeated till the sensor with the wright Kcell is found. Designing in such way is a time consuming and expensive process. Therefor a theoretical model has to be derived which can determine the Kcell of a 4-electrode conductivity sensor. [1] B. Timmer, W. Sparreboom, W. Olthuis, P. Bergveld and A. van den Berg, “Optimization of an electrolyte conductivity detector for measuring low ion concentrations,” Lab Chip, vol. 2, pp 121-124, 2002.


  • Literature search (4-electrode impedance measurement).
  • Derive a model to calculate the Kcell of a 4-electrode conductivity sensor.
  • Give advice and/or design a new 4-electrode conductivity sensor with a specified Kcell.

What we do for you

The student will be part of gas and ion sensor for IoT team and develop a new model and design a new 4-electrode conductivity sensors with a specified Kcell.

Who you are

  • Bachelor’s/Master’s student in Applied Physics/Electrical Engineering/Mathematics.
  • Knowledge of simulation software (like comsol) Affinity with solving differential equations.
  • Motivated student eager to work independently and expand knowledge in the field.
  • Good written and verbal English skills.


Click on ‘apply’ to submit your application. You will then be redirected to e-recruiting. If you know someone who could be the right fit for the job click on ’refer’.

Please be advised that non-EU/EEA country students that are studying outside of the Netherlands, need to have a work-permit to be able to do an internship in the Netherlands.

Job details
    Apply now

    You're using an old browser
    The support for your browser is limited. To enhance your internet experience it's recommended to update your browser. Update browser now!