How to measure capacitors/Test a Capacitors (7): How can I accurately measure the quality factor (Q)?
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A. The quality factor is a measure of the extent to which a capacitor acts like a theoretically pure capacitor6. It is the inverse of the dissipation factor (DF). Q is typically reported for capacitance values ≦ 330pF, DF > 330pF.

An accurate Q value can be obtained from Q-meter that utilizes precise inductance coils that correspond to a specific capacitance range. Often multiple coils are necessary to adequately measure across the 0.5 ~ 330pF range. For capacitors > 330pF, the quality factor can be calculated by take the inverse of the dissipation factor (see Formula 1).

*1 "Glossary of Capacitor Terms", Ray Ostlie (1989)

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