The detection of changes in volume, e.g., in expansivity or aging measurements, are often translated into mercury column height within a glass capillary. We propose a capacitive technique for measuring the meniscus position using a cylindrical capacitor with mercury as the inner electrode, the capillary material as the dielectric, and a metal coat covering the outside surface of the capillary as the second electrode. The measured capacitance changes linearly with meniscus height, as long as the top mercury level remains within the range of the outer electrode. With the demonstrated noise level of 48 nm for our preliminary setup, meniscus height changes beyond 100 nm can be observed via the capacitance.
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