MEASUREMENT, vol.179, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI)
An efficient de-embedding air-line microwave method has been proposed for accurate relative complex permittivity, epsilon(r) = epsilon(r)' - i epsilon(r)'', measurement of water-adulteration level within honey. It could be effectively applied to eliminate the errors arising from usage of imperfect calibration standards because it bypasses the requirement of these standards. Its accuracy is improved by utilizing the unitary and similarity properties of a passive two-port network, and then is compared with the accuracy of a calibration-dependent method present in the literature by using normalized root-mean-square-error (N-RMSE) values of epsilon(r)' and epsilon(r)'' of distilled water, in reference to the Debye value. From this comparison, it is observed that N-RMSE values calculated for epsilon(r)' (and epsilon(r)'') by using this calibration-dependent method and the (improved) proposed method are, respectively, around 0.1955 (0.1002) and 0.1962 (1.1067), indicating a good agreement between them. After validation the proposed de-embedding method using distilled water measurements, tested pure honey was adulterated with distilled water by different percentage values delta ranging from 1% to 10% in 1% increments. It is observed that the maximum distance between extracted epsilon(r)' (or epsilon(r)'') values of adulterated honey by the applied calibration-dependent method and the proposed method is less than 2%. Afterward, an empirical formula was devised to fit epsilon(r)' and epsilon(r)'' values from measured epsilon(r) of water-adulterated honey with various delta levels. It is noted that extracted epsilon(r)' is much more better fitted than extracted epsilon(r)'', especially for delta <= 4. Next, an optimization process is followed to evaluate the frequency for optimum prediction of adulteration levels using the empirical formula based on epsilon(r)' or epsilon(r)'' It is noticed that optimized delta values using the empirical formula based on epsilon(r)' (with an average prediction error of around 0.071 at 4.5 GHz) are superior to optimized delta values using the empirical formula based on epsilon(r)'' (with an average prediction error of around 0.085 at 4.2 GHz) for prediction of previously known delta values. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses were performed to assess and improve the accuracy of the proposed method.