How to measure capacitors/Test a Capacitors (6): What is compensation of measurement errors, and why is it necessary?
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  • Keramik-Vielschichtkondensatoren (MLCC)

A. Compensation is a technique used to compensate for error added during measurement, such as the residual parasitic from the fixture, tweezers, etc.
When measuring the capacitor, a fixture or tweezers is needed to make electrical contact. However, the fixture has some parasitic impedance and admittance, which can add unwanted impedance or admittance to the measurement value. Therefore, compensation of the parasitic is necessary.
Compensation usually consists of three steps. These steps are open, short, and load compensation. When performing the open compensation, the parasitic admittance is compensated. When performing the short, the parasitic impedance is compensated. Load compensation sets the reference point for a 50Ω load measurement.
Obviously compensation is paramount for low capacitance (<1000pF) measurements, where any additional measurement error could significantly effect the displayed value.

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