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Moisture measuring antenna promises a bounty of potential for farmers

MAY 17, 2024
Slot modifications in microstrip patch shown to significantly enhance liquid permittivity sensing
Moisture measuring antenna promises a bounty of potential for farmers internal name

Moisture measuring antenna promises a bounty of potential for farmers lead image

Antenna sensor technology is becoming increasingly popular for many reasons. The wireless devices are typically small, inexpensive, easy to operate, and boast an ability to “sense” in multiple ways. The microwave patch antenna sensor, for instance, is an electromagnetic resonant sensor that, among other things, can measure the permittivity of solid or liquid substances. As such, it represents a potentially invaluable tool for agricultural and environmental monitoring.

Talha Khan et al. demonstrated the superior efficacy of a modified slotted microstrip patch sensor antenna for measuring the moisture content in leaves. The novel design has major implications that may help optimize water usage, ensure crop health, and, ultimately, lead to better yields.

“In this study, we provided a better way of measuring the moisture content in leaves – something that’s really important for farmers and people working in agriculture,” said author Muhammad Talha Khan.

The researchers used fresh Ginkgo tree leaves to test their antenna. As they added more water to the leaves, increasing the moisture content from 0% to above 22%, they observed the antenna’s resonant frequency shift downwards. That shift occurred because water molecules in the leaves were absorbing some of the radio waves, which changed the antenna’s behavior.

“It’s what we call a ‘non-destructive’ and ‘non-contact’ method, which makes it better than other techniques that might harm the plants being monitored,” said Talha Khan.

“In a nutshell, we took a regular patch antenna, added some clever slots, and turned it into a highly sensitive and affordable moisture sensor that could be a game-changer for precision agriculture and environmental monitoring,” Talha Khan said.

Source: “Sensitivity enhancement for moisture content detection using modified microstrip patch antennas,” by Muhammad Talha Khan, Xian Qi Lin, Abid Muhammad Khan, and Zhe Chen, AIP Advances (2024). The article can be accessed at http://doi.org/10.1063/5.0208292 .

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