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Triangle Sensor

The method used to measure distance depends on the accuracy and distance capability required of the device. Measurement principles include triangulation, time-of-flight measurement, pulse-type time-offlight systems, and modulated beam systems For distances of a few inches with high accuracy requirements, "triangulation" sensors measure the location of the spot within the field of view of the detecting element. Modulated Beam Systems use the time light takes to travel to the target and back, but the time for a single round-trip is not measured directly. Instead, the strength of the laser is rapidly varied to produce a signal that changes over time.

Triangulation measurement principle

Is an accurately measuring the distance to targets is through the use of laser triangulation sensors. They are so named because the sensor enclosure, the emitted laser and the reflected laser light form a triangle. The laser beam is projected from the instrument and is reflected from a target surface to a collection lens. This lens is typically located adjacent to the laser emitter. The lens focuses an image of the spot on a linear array camera (CMOS array). The camera views the measurement range from an angle that varies from 45 to 65 degrees at the center of the measurement range, depending on the particular model. The position of the spot image on the pixels of the camera is then processed to determine the distance to the target. The camera integrates the light falling on it, so longer exposure times allow greater sensitivity to weak reflections. The beam is viewed from one side so that the apparent location of the spot changes with the distance to the target. Triangulation devices are ideal for measuring distances of a few inches with high accuracy. Triangulation devices may be built on any scale, but the accuracy falls off rapidly with increasing range. The depth of

field (minimum to maximum measurable distance) is typically limited, as triangulation sensors cannot measure relative to their baseline, the distance between the emitter and the detector. The exposure and laser power level are typically controlled to optimize the accuracy of the measurements for the signal strength and environmental light level measured. The range data may be internally averaged over multiple exposures prior to transmitting if the sample rate is set appropriately. 2. Time of Flight Sensor

Time-of-flight cameras are sensors which deliver two types of information for each pixel: the intensity (gray-value) and the distance from the camera (depth). A time-of-flight camera consists of three basic components:

an active illumination unit, a lens, and the imaging sensor.

The figure below illustrates the basic working principle: The active illumination unit emits intensity-modulated light in the near-infrared range. Light hitting an object or surface is reflected back to the camera. The reflected light is projected onto the imaging sensor using the lens. By correlating the emitted and received signals it is possible to compute the distance of the illuminated object/scene to the sensor for each pixel. ToF cameras provide a real-time 2.5-D (only the camera-facing part of the surface can be observed by the ToF camera) representation of an object. The object is actively illuminated

by an incoherent light signal. This signal is intensity-modulated with a cosine signal of frequency spectrum. The light signal travels with constant speed in the surrounding medium and is reflected by the surface of the object. By estimating the phase-shift and reflected light signal, the distance (in rad) between both, the emitted . Usually the emitted light is in the non-visible near infrared range of the

can be computed as:

, where [m/s] denotes the speed of light, [m] the distance the light travels, [MHz]

the modulation frequency, -

[rad] the phase shift.

In addition to depth values, ToF cameras also provide intensity values, representing the amount of light sent back from a specific point.

Non-ambiguous Range
Due to the periodicity of the cosine-shaped modulation signal, ToF cameras have a nonambiguous range of . Within this range, distances can be computed uniquely.

The range depends on the modulation frequency of the camera which defines the wave length of the emitted signal. To compute distances, the camera evaluates the phase shift between a reference (emitted) signal and the received signal. The phase shift distance . The figure below shows the relation of and . is proportional to the

Relation of a phase shift to the distance at a fixed modulation frequency of

=20 MHz.

Currently available ToF cameras operate at a modulation frequency of about 20 MHz. Then, a single wave is of length or 15 m. Thus, the unique range of these ToF cameras is

approx. 7.5 m. The range can be altered by adapting the modulation frequency of the active illumination. 3. Laser-Range Radar

The laser transmitter should be designed for good optical and mechanical stability. Also it should produce the required peak power for the given application. The laser resonator uses a pair of mirrors aligned parallel to each other and normal to the laser rod axis. One mirror is coated for high reflectivity at the laser wavelength and the other for a reflectivity value between 50-90 per cent depending on the laser medium used. The partial mirror coating is sometimes deposited directly on one end face of the laser rod for simplicity. The other end of the laser rod is anti-reflection coated at the laser wavelength. Laser energy is coupled out through the partial reflector. For enhanced robustness, the high reflectance mirror is sometimes replaced by a corner cube prism which behaves as a retro-reflector .A crossed porro resonator is preferred for environments encountering severe vibrations. This type of resonator uses prisms in place of mirrors with their vertices at right angles to each other. The inherent stability of a single prism in one plane provides a high degree of stability to the resonator. A polarizer and half-wave plate combination is used in the resonator for coupling out the energy via the polarizer. Proximity sensing can be done using radar or sonar. Radar works with ultra-high-frequency (UHF) or microwave radio signals. Sonar uses acoustic waves. Pulses are transmitted and picked up after they reflect from objects. The delay time is measured, and the results sent to the robot controller. The principle is basically like that of a laser-ranging proximity sensor. Radar will not work for objects that do not reflect UHF or microwave energy.Metallic objects reflect this energy well; salt water is fair; and trees and houses are poor. Radar, like ladar, works better at long

distances than close up. Sonar can function well at small distances, because the speed of sound in much slower than the speed of electromagnetic (EM) waves in free space.

4 Laser interferometric distance meter

The measurements that an Agilent laser measurement system can make depend on the measurement optics (interferometers and retroreflectors) that are used. The basic measurement made by all Agilent laser measurement systems is a linear measurement of the relative movement between an interferometer and its associated retroreflector, along the path of the laser beam. In most cases, the interferometer is the fixed optic and the retroreflector is the one that moves. Agilent offers interferometers and retroreflectors that allow measurements of angles, flatness, and straightness to be made.However, all of these measurements represent special applications of the basic linear measurement. An angular measurement, for example, represents the difference in two linear measurements whose separation is precisely known. The length standard for all of these measurements is the wavelength of laser light from the laser head. Relative motion between the interferometer and its retroreflector generates a series of interference fringes in the laser beam. The interference fringes are converted to electrical pulses in a receiver, and sent to the measurement electronics, which processes them as required to provide the desired measurement data. The interferometric measurement system is sensitive enough that its measurements can be affected by changes in the measurement environment. These changes can affect both measurement accuracy and repeatability. The wavelength of laser light, which is the length standard for measurements, can be affected by the characteristics of the environment between the interferometer and its associated measurement reflector. The process of determining the correct wavelength-of-light value for the measurement conditions is called compensation. Agilent offers devices (air sensor, wavelength tracker) which can be used to provide automatic compensation for the wavelength of light. Alternatively,

wavelength-of-light compensation can be performed manually, by measuring the atmospheric temperature, pressure, and humidity, and calculating the compensation value or looking it up in a table.

5. Laser-Doppler Velocimeter

In its simplest and most presently used form, LDV crosses two beams of collimated, monochromatic, and coherent laser light in the flow of the fluid being measured. The two beams are usually obtained by splitting a single beam, thus ensuring coherence between the two. Lasers with wavelengths in the visible spectrum (390 750 nm) are commonly used; these are typically He-Ne, Argon ion, or laser diode, allowing the beam path to be observed. A transmitting optics focuses the beams to intersect at their waists (the focal point of a laser beam), where they interfere and generate a set of straight fringes. As particles (either naturally occurring or induced) entrained in the fluid pass through the fringes, they reflect light that is then collected by a receiving optics and focused on a photodetector (typically an avalanche photodiode). The reflected light fluctuates in intensity, the frequency of which is equivalent to the Doppler shift between the incident and scattered light, and is thus proportional to the component of particle velocity which lies in the plane of two laser beams. If the sensor is aligned to the flow such that the fringes are perpendicular to the flow direction, the electrical signal from the photodetector will then be proportional to the full particle velocity. By combining three devices (e.g.; He-Ne, Argon ion, and laser diode) with different wavelengths, all three flow velocity components can be simultaneously measured.[5] Another form of LDV, particularly used in early device developments, has a completely different approach akin to an interferometer. The sensor also splits the laser beam into two parts; one (the measurement beam) is focused into the flow and the second (the reference beam) passes outside the flow. A receiving optics provides a path that intersects the measurement beam, forming a small volume. Particles passing through this volume will scatter light from the measurement beam with a Doppler shift; a portion of this light is collected by the receiving optics and transferred to the photodetector. The reference beam is also sent to the photodetector where optical heterodyne detection produces an electrical signal proportional to the Doppler shift, by which the particle velocity component perpendicular to the plane of the beams can be determined. Similar arrangements using optical heterodyning are also used in laser Doppler sensors for measuring the linear velocity of solids and for measuring vibrations of surfaces; the latter sensor is usually called a laser Doppler vibrometer, also abbreviated LDV.