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I was looking for a component-style electroscope. I thought, "Surely there must be some MEMS-based electroscopes capable of 2- or 3-significant-figure potential measurements." But the only thing that came up on a web search was this tantalizing image, which must have been a one-off prototype since I can't find anything else about it or like it:

MEMS electroscope

Everything else I can find is some sort of metal-foil table-top teaching instrument. But that's like saying, "Oh, you want to store charge? Just connect a Leyden jar to your circuit here!" Granted, on this site I can only find these two calls for an electroscope in application. Do electroscopes really have no significant practical applications? Or is there some other reason they don't exist as a mainstream EE component? (Or do they and I'm just confused?)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, with what application can you come up that works for mass production? \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 2 '17 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH: a MEMS seems like the obvious one to me. \$\endgroup\$ – feetwet Feb 2 '17 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ no, I don't mean what device to build, but what to build it for. What would make the people buy it \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 2 '17 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ tinsel is cheaper than gold leaf which produced great effects on lead glass CRT TV's \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Feb 2 '17 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't mean it quite like that, mainly that electroscopes have been superseded by FET based systems (mainly opamps, but discrete FET designs exist too), much like how the Eidophor has been superseded by modern DLP projectors in big projected screen installations. It doesn't matter if if we're talking about a competent EE or not, the fact is that no-one makes decent ones anymore, like VHS recorders, not inherently bad, just obsolete. Here's an example of a picoammeter using the LMC662 and here's a FET based electroscope \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Feb 5 '17 at 23:30

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