Oil monitoring with an optically stimulated contact potential difference sensor
Ellis, Lisa Marie
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This thesis utilized the concept of an optically stimulated Contact Potential Difference (osCPD) sensor to monitor oil properties. The osCPD technique is a variant of the contact potential difference (CPD) method used to obtain surface properties of materials. The technique uses modulated light to stimulate electron charge carriers in silicon coated with a layer of oil. Demonstration of this oil monitoring design was done by placing different oil samples on the silicon surface and monitoring the corresponding electrical signal with the osCPD sensor. Experiments showed that the osCPD sensor produced an electrical signal that was related to the amount of time an oil sample was aged in an engine (or mileage). Further, a linear relationship was found between the relative conductivity of these oils and the osCPD signal. It is theorized that this osCPD signal is dependant on the charge transfer at the silicon and oil interface. Investigation of this interaction was carried out. Experiments showed that adding a silicon nitride passivation layer on the silicon surface eliminated the change in osCPD signal with oil properties. A model of this charge interaction was developed.