Influence of Isotopologue Dipole Moments on Precision Dielectric-Constant Measurements

Published: November 04, 2019


Allan H. Harvey


Measurements of the relative permittivity (dielectric constant) of fluids such as methane have been interpreted with the assumption that the substance has zero dipole moment. This assumption is not strictly true, due to the presence of isotopologues with small, nonzero dipole moments. We investigate the significance of this effect by analyzing the effect of the dipole of CH3D on the static dielectric constant of methane. It is found that the isotopologue effect is more than two orders of magnitude smaller than the uncertainty of the best existing measurements. Similar calculations for other compounds such as H2 and CO2 produce even smaller effects. Therefore, the interpretation of these measurements with a dipole moment of zero remains valid.
Citation: Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
Pub Type: NIST Pubs


dielectric constant, isotopes, methane, relative permittivity
Created November 04, 2019