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Dielectric Relaxation in Biological SystemsPhysical Principles, Methods, and Applications$
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Valerica Raicu and Yuri Feldman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686513.001.0001

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Historical Overview

Historical Overview

(p.1) Historical Overview
Dielectric Relaxation in Biological Systems

Ronald Pethig

Oxford University Press

Rudolf Höber’s dielectric experiments, between 1910 and 1913, represent the point where electrophysiology branched off into bio-dielectrics and electrical bio-impedance. He provided the first evidence that a viable cell is enclosed within an electrically resistive membrane, and demonstrated an effect in the frequency range between 100 Hz and 5 MHz for cell suspensions and muscle tissue that we now interpret as Maxwell–Wagner interfacial polarization and the β‎-dispersion. Through the Clausius–Mossotti factor we can relate the macroscopic dielectric property of an object, such as a cell, to the microscopic electrical polarizability of its constituent atoms and molecules. The mathematical formulation of this factor can be traced back to Mossottis translation of Poisson’s work (in Maxwells words) “from magnetic language into the electric, and from French into Italian,” and also to George Greens method to determine the magnetic potential induced in a body by exterior magnetic forces.

Keywords:   β-Dispersion, Clausius–Mossotti factor, induced dipole moment, Maxwell–Wagner polarization, membrane capacitance, membrane resistance

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