Multisection transmission line scatter function theory for measurements of soil dielectric properties

Xiufu Shuai, Timothy R. Green, Chittaranjan Ray, Vassilis L. Syrmos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Vector network analyzers measure both reflection (S and transmission (S functions, but Shas not been used to estimate soil dielectric permittivity independently. The objectives of this study were to (i) derive the mathematical model for Sof a multisection transmission line and (ii) test this model and demonstrate the method. The mathematical model for Sintegrates multiple transmissions across a section as a feedback subsystem. Two experiments were conducted using oven-dried sand and air to examine the Smodel. In the first experiment, a waveguide was filled with one section of sand to form a three-section transmission line; in the second experiment, two sections of sand formed a five-section transmission line. The S11 and Sfunctions were measured with a vector network analyzer, and the complex dielectric permittivity values were calculated. Results of Debye model fitting and sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the complex dielectric permittivity of low-loss sand estimated from the measured Swere less variable and followed the Debye model more closely than those from the measured S11 in the frequency range from 45.0 MHz to 3.0 GHz. Therefore, the complex dielectric permittivity of low-loss materials may be estimated more precisely using measurements of Swith the derived feedback model than with the widely used method based on S11. These general behaviors are also expected for more lossy media within a limited frequency range, but the present theory and testing methods should be used to evaluate permittivity measurements under field conditions in moist heterogeneous soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1145
Number of pages7
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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