Abstract: Precision displacement and load measurements dependent upon the intensity or attenuation of a signal, as by use of Moire fringe gratings or photoelastic load cells, are made using speed-of-light ranging techniques based on heterodyne frequency conversion with multiple phase-locking. Coiled optical fibres introduce phase delays in radio-frequency-modulated laser rays which are then compounded in phase by selective signal attenuation and merger. The phase is then measured by high precision circuits involving ceramic filters and translated into position or load data. Machine tool control and strain gauge applications are described. The ceramic filter circuit generates a signal measuring rate of change of displacement as a by-product, thereby facilitating measurements involving rapid motion.
Abstract: Time of transit of a propagated electric signal at lightspeed is used as a measure of distance from a transmitter (laser 32) to a receiver (photodetector 39) via a target (reflector 14). A continuous modulating signal of fixed frequency (10.700 MHz) is transmitted. The distance traversed is measured by a timer which compares the phase at transmission with that at reception. The invention involves a heterodyne down-conversion technique involving two crystal oscillators (30, 31), which are phase-locked to assure that one regulates the other to keep their frequencies in linear proportional relationship, both being at the transmitter location, which transfer the phase difference to a 10.45 kHz frequency, thereby facilitating high resolution and precision mesurement by extending the time measure representing distance.
January 4, 1991
Date of Patent:
November 10, 1992
Optical Metrology Limited
Christopher P. Bartram, John S. Strachan