Studies of electrical properties, including noise properties, of thick-film resistors prepared from various resistive and conductive materials on LTCC substrates have been described. Experiments have been carried out in the temperature range from 300 K up to 650 K using two methods, i.e. measuring (i) spectra of voltage fluctuations observed on the studied samples and (ii) the current noise index by a standard meter, both at constant temperature and during a temperature sweep with a slow rate. The 1/f noise component caused by resistance fluctuations occurred to be dominant in the entire range of temperature. The dependence of the noise intensity on temperature revealed that a temperature change from 300 K to 650 K causes a rise in magnitude of the noise intensity approximately one order of magnitude. Using the experimental data, the parameters describing noise properties of the used materials have been calculated and compared to the properties of other previously studied thick-film materials.
Studies of noise properties of thick-film conducting lines from Au or PdAg conductive pastes on LTCC or alumina substrates are reported. Experiments have been carried out at the room temperature on samples prepared in the form of meanders by traditional screen-printing or laser-shaping technique. Due to a low resistance of the devices under test (DUTs), low-frequency noise spectra have been measured for the dc-biased samples arranged in a bridge configuration, transformer-coupled to a low-noise amplifier. The detailed analysis of noise sources in the signal path and its transfer function, including the transformer, has been carried out, and a procedure for measurement setup self-calibration has been described. The 1/f noise component originating from resistance fluctuations has been found to be dominant in all DUTs. The analysis of experimental data leads to the conclusion that noise is produced in the bends of meanders rather than in their straight segments. It occurs that noise of Au-based laser-shaped lines is significantly smaller than screen-printed ones. PdAg lines have been found more resistive but simultaneously less noisy than Au-based lines.
The suitability of low-cost impedance sensors for microbiological purposes and biofilm growth monitoring was evaluated. The sensors with interdigitated electrodes were fabricated in PCB and LTCC technologies. The electrodes were golden (LTCC) or gold-plated (PCB) to provide surface stability. The sensors were used for monitoring growth and degradation of the reference ATCC 15442 Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain biofilm in invitro setting. During the experiment, the impedance spectra of the sensors were measured and analysed using electrical equivalent circuit (EEC) modelling. Additionally, the process of adhesion and growth of bacteria on a sensor’s surface was assessed by means of the optical and SEM microscopy. EEC and SEM microscopic analysis revealed that the gold layer on copper electrodes was not tight, making the PCB sensors susceptible to corrosion while the LTCC sensors had good surface stability. It turned out that the LTCC sensors are suitable for monitoring pseudomonal biofilm and the PCB sensors are good detectors of ongoing stages of biofilm formation.