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EIS Data Plotting

Last Updated: 5/7/19 by Neil Spinner

  • bode,
  • bode plot,
  • eis plot,
  • nyquist,
  • nyquist plot
Article Contents/Section Navigation
  1. Plotting Conventions - Nyquist Plots
  2. Plotting Conventions - Bode Plots

1Plotting Conventions - Nyquist Plots

There are two standard types of plots generated from five-column EIS data: Nyquist and Bode plots.  A Nyquist plot normally consists of -Z_i vs. Z_r, and this type of plot is most commonly used to identify distinctive patterns and shapes in the data (see Figure 1 for examples of Nyquist plots for several different circuit networks).
Example Nyquist Plots for Different Circuit Networks

Figure 1. Example Nyquist Plots for Different Circuit Networks

The imaginary impedance values on a Nyquist plot are commonly inverted, or conversely the Z_i axis is sometimes displayed in reverse numerical order, due to the fact that almost all Z_i values are normally less than zero and it is more convenient to view shapes and patterns primarily in the first quadrant on a Cartesian graph (see Figure 1).
Another convention traditionally applied to Nyquist plots is orthonormality, which refers to the usage of a 1:1 ratio for the scale of x- and y-axes.  Historically, this was used exclusively on Nyquist plots because some of the ubiquitous shapes (e.g., semicircles and tilted lines) are more easily discerned when viewed on an orthonormal plot.  Many EIS users still hold to this convention; however, much of its necessity has become diminished with the advent of circuit fitting software.  While non-idealities in data can be observed through distorted semicircles and tilted line angles on an orthonormal Nyquist plot, they are also easily visualized and more conveniently quantified via circuit fitting algorithms.  It can also be somewhat inconvenient to force orthonormality on some Nyquist plots as quite often the data becomes concentrated to a small portion of the plot, leaving large swaths of empty graphical space.
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2Plotting Conventions - Bode Plots

The second standard type of plot used with EIS data is a Bode plot.  A Bode plot is a double-axis plot consisting of both |Z| vs. f (on the primary vertical axis) and \phi vs. f (on the secondary vertical axis).  Frequency and impedance magnitude are normally plotted on a logarithmic scale, while the phase angle is displayed linearly (see Figure 2 for examples of Bode plots for several different circuit networks).
Example Bode Plots for Different Circuit Networks

Figure 2. Example Bode Plots for Different Circuit Networks

Observing the phase angle on a Bode plot is a quick way to understand the type of circuit behavior a system is experiencing at any particular frequency.  For example, a phase angle of 0° corresponds to an ideal resistor, +90° corresponds to an ideal inductor, and -90° corresponds to an ideal capacitor.  Values in between may indicate mixed behavior or non-ideality depending on the system under study.
Bode plots also allow easy determination of frequency values, compared with Nyquist plots where frequency values are not plotted.  Generally, the lower-leftmost points on a Nyquist plot correspond to the highest frequencies, and following the trace to the right moves from high to low frequency.
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