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Optical Encoders, Laser

Interferometer, LVDT
Rushi Vyas
Xiaoyu Ding
Lei Yang
Rushi Vyas

• Optical Encoders: Theory and applications
– Fundamental Components
– Theory
– Types of optical encoders
– Quadrature
– Errors
– Applications
Rushi Vyas

What are Encoders

• An accessory to a mechanical device that translates
mechanical motion into a measurable electrical
signal Digital or Analog (preferably digital).
• Optical Encoders
– Use light & photosensors to produce digital code
– Most popular type of encoder.
• Can be linear or rotary.
Rushi Vyas

Optical Encoders: Components

• Code Disk: Used to produce

different light patterns on a photo
detector assembly from a
stationary light source.
• Code Disk: Determines the Optical
Encoder type.
Rushi Vyas

Optical Encoders: Components

• Light source(s)
– LEDs or IR LEDs provide light source.
– Light is collimated using a lens to make the beams
• Photodetector(s)
– Either Photodiodes or Phototransistors.
• Opaque disk (Code Disk)
– One or more “tracks” with slits to allow light to
pass through.
Rushi Vyas

Optical Encoders: Theory

LED Code Photo-
Disk sensor
Rushi Vyas

Optical Encoder Types

• Incremental Encoders: Mechanical motion computed by
measuring consecutive “on” states.
• Absolute Encoders: Digital data produced by code disk, which
carries position information.
Incremental Encoder Absolute Encoder
code Disk code Disk

Lab 3
Rushi Vyas

Standard Binary Encoding

Angle Binary Decimal

0-45 000 0

45-90 001 1

90-135 010 2

135-180 011 3

180-225 100 4

225-270 101 5

270-315 110 6

315-360 111 7
Rushi Vyas

Problem with Binary Code

Angle Binary Decimal

• One angle shift 0-45 000 0

results in multiple bit 45-90 001 1

changes. 90-135 010 2
• Example: 1 => 2 135-180 011 3
– 001 (start at 1)
180-225 100 4
– 000 (turn off bit 0)
225-270 101 5
– 010 (turn on bit 1)
270-315 110 6

315-360 111 7
Rushi Vyas

Gray Encoding
Angle Binary Decimal

0-45 000 0

45-90 001 1

90-135 011 2

135-180 010 3

180-225 110 4

225-270 111 5

270-315 101 6

315-360 100 7

Notice only 1 bit has to be

changed for all transitions.
Rushi Vyas


• ❖ Quadrature describes two signals 90° out of phase

• ❖ Used to determine direction of measurement
• ❖ Only two directions possible, A leads B or B leads
Rushi Vyas

An incremental rotary encoder, also known as a quadrature encoder or a relative
rotary encoder, has two outputs called quadrature outputs that are 90 deg out of
phase. Direction of rotation can be determined from output sequence.
Rushi Vyas

Encoder Resolution:
• Absolute Optical Encoder
– Resolution = 360º/(2n)
– n = number of encoder bits
– Measures the rotational displacement that can be
measured per bit change.
• Incremental Optical Encoder
– Resolution = 360/n
– N = number of windows on code disk
– Resolution can be increased by reading both rising and
falling edges ( ) and by using quadrature
( ).
Rushi Vyas

Number of bits on encoder code
disk n = 3
Resolution = 360º/23 = 45º

Number of bits on encoder code

disk n = 4
Resolution = 360º/24 = 22.5º
Rushi Vyas

• What resolution absolute optical encoder is
needed to be able to measure rotational
displacements of 1.5 degrees?
– N=?
– Resolution = 1.5 degrees
For absolute optical encoder:
Resolution=360/2N =1.5 → N = 7.91 ≈ 8 bits
Rushi Vyas

• What number of slits (windows) are needed
on the code disk of an incremental optical
encoder to be able to measure rotational
displacements of 1.5 degrees?
– N=?
– Resolution = 1.5 degrees

For incremental optical encoder

Resolution=360/N =1.5 → N = 240 windows
Rushi Vyas

Optical Encoders: Reliability

• Encoder errors
1.Quantization Error – Dependent on digital word
2.Assembly Error – Due to instability in rotational
motion of code disk
3.Manufacturing tolerances – Code printing
accuracy, sensor position, and irregularities in
signal generation.
Rushi Vyas

Optical Encoders: Reliability

4. Structural Limitations – Disk Deformation,
physical loads on shaft.
5. Coupling Error – Gear backlash, belt slippage,
6. Ambient Effects – Vibration, temperature, light
noise, humidity, etc…
7. Diffraction of light: occurs due to edge of codes
disk windows. Fixed in newer encoders by using
mask and minimizing distance to photodetector.
Rushi Vyas

• Primarily used in motors for
monitoring velocity and position.
– Robotics
– Conveyor belts
– Locomotives: Automobiles,
– Tachometers
Rushi Vyas

• Kawasaki Industries Optical Encoders: www.khi.co.jp
• Compumotors: www.compumotor.com
• ME class notes: Dr. Kurfess, Georgia Tech
• www.motioncontrol-info.com
• Sensors: Fall 08. ME6405
• Wikipedia
• Computer Optical Products: http://www.opticalencoder.com/
Laser interferometer

Xiaoyu Ding
Xiaoyu Ding

Laser Interferometer
• What’s laser interferometer?
• The principle of standard interferometer
• Types of interferometers
• Applications
Xiaoyu Ding

What’s a Laser Interferometer

• Laser Interferometer:
– the instrument used for high precision
measurements (distance, angles…. etc.)
– it uses interferometry as the basis for
– it uses the very small, stable and accurately
defined wavelength of laser as a unit of measure.
Xiaoyu Ding

Physics Review
• Diffraction
Diffraction is a sure
sign that whatever is
passing through the
hole is a wave.

Diffraction of Water Waves

Xiaoyu Ding

Physics Review
• Diffraction of Light
Light, just like a water
wave, does spread out
behind a hole is the hole
is sufficiently small.

Light is a electromagnetic

Diffraction of light Wave

Xiaoyu Ding

Physics Review
• A Double-Slit Interference Experiment

Interference of Light
Xiaoyu Ding

Principle of Michelson Interferometer

• Albert Michelson (1852~1931)
– the first American scientist to receive
a Nobel prize, invented the optical
– The Michelson interferometer has
been widely used for over a century
Albert Michelson
to make precise measurements of
wavelengths and distances.
Xiaoyu Ding

Principle of Michelson Interferometer

• Michelson Interferometer
1) Separation
2) Recombination
3) Interference

A Michelson Interferometer for use on an optical table

Xiaoyu Ding

Principle of Michelson Interferometer

• Analyzing Michelson Interferometer
– The central spot in the fringe pattern alternates
between bright and dark when Mirror M2 moves.
If we can know the spacing distance
of M2 between two sequent central
bright spots and the number of
central bright spots appeared, then
we can calculate how long M2

Photograph of the interference fringes

produced by a Michelson interferometer.
Xiaoyu Ding

Principle of Michelson Interferometer

• Analyzing Michelson Interferometer
– Spacing distance of M2 is  2 .

laser has very small, stable

and accurately defined
wavelength which can help
us get high precision
Xiaoyu Ding

Types of Laser Interferometers

• Homodyne Laser Interferometer (Standard)
– It is based on interference of laser waves
(Michelson interferometer)

• Heterodyne Laser interferometer

– It is based on Doppler Effect.
Xiaoyu Ding
Principle of Heterodyne Laser
• Doppler Effect
Doppler Effect:
The change of frequency
when a source moves relative
to an observer.
f0 f0
f  , f 
1  vs v 1  vs v

f f0 f
We can get the velocity of an object by
measure the frequency change between
incident laser wave and reflected laser
Xiaoyu Ding

• Measurement of Distance
– 1) frequency stabilized He-Ne laser tube
– 2) combination of beam-splitter and retroreflector
– 3) a moving retroreflector
– 4) detection electronics

Aerotech’s LZR3000 Series Laser Interferometer System

Xiaoyu Ding

• Other Applications
– Measure angles, flatness, straightness, velocity
and vibrations, etc.

of the light paths
Xiaoyu Ding

• XL-80 Laser Measurement System
Xiaoyu Ding

• http://www.aerotech.com/products/engref/intexe.html
• http://www.renishaw.com/en/interferometry-explained--7854
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson_interferometer
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interferometry
Linear Variable Differential
Lei Yang
Lei Yang

• What is LVDT?
• Construction of LVDT
• How LVDT works
• Support electronics of LVDT
• Properties of LVDT
• Types of LVDT
• Applications of LVDT
Lei Yang

What is a LVDT
• Linear variable differential transformer
• Electrical transformer measuring linear
Lei Yang

Construction of LVDT
• One Primary coil
• Two symmetric secondary coils Primary coil
• Ferromagnetic core
•The primary coil is energized with a A.C.
•The two secondary coils are identical,
symmetrically distributed.
•The two secondary coils are connected in

Ferromagnetic Secondary
core coils
Lei Yang

Recall of conventional transformer

• Mutual induction
• the secondary voltage proportional to the primary
• The transformer core is fixed
• Energy transferred is high
Lei Yang

How LVDT works

• If the core is located midway
between S1 and S2

• Equal flux is coupled to each

• Voltage E1 and E2 are equal.
• The differential voltage output, (E1 -
E2 ), is zero.
• This core position is called null
Lei Yang

How LVDT works

• If the core is moved closer to
S1 than to S2

• More flux is coupled to S1 than

S2 .
• The induced voltage E1 is
increased while E2 is
• The differential voltage is (E1 -
Lei Yang

How LVDT works

• If the core is moved closer to
S2 than to S1

• More flux is coupled to S2 than

to S1 .
• The induced E2 is increased as
E1 is decreased.
• The differential voltage is (E2 -
Lei Yang

How LVDT works

Lei Yang

Support electronics of LVDT

• LVDT signal conditioning equipment
• Supplying excitation power for an LVDT
• typically 3 V rms at 3 kHz
• Converting AC output into DC signals with
directional information from the 180 degree
output phase shift
External electronics
Self-contained electronics e.g. DC-LVDT
Lei Yang

Properties of LVDT
• Friction-Free Operation
• Infinite Resolution
• Unlimited Mechanical Life
• Single Axis Sensitivity
• Environmentally Robust
• Null Point Repeatability
• Fast Dynamic Response
• Absolute Output
Lei Yang

Types of LVDT

• Signal conditioning easier
• Can operate from dry cell batteries
• High unit cost
• Small size
• Very accurate – Excellent resolution (0.1 µm)
• Can operate with a wide temperature range
• Lower unit cost
Lei Yang

Types of LVDT
• Free core
• Core is completely separable from the transducer body
• Well-suited for short-range (1 to 50mm), high speed
applications (high-frequency vibration)

• Guided core
• Core is restrained and guided by a low-friction assembly
• Both static and dynamic applications
• working range (up to 500mm)

• Spring-extended core
• Core is restrained and guided by a low-friction assembly
• Internal spring to continuously push the core to its fullest
possible extension
• Best suited for static or slow-moving applications
• Lower range than guided core(10 to 70mm)
Lei Yang

Example of commercial LVDT

• SE-750 Series General Purpose Free Core Single-Ended DC-LVDT Position Sensors
Lei Yang

Applications of LVDT
• For power generation
1. Conditioning valves for large and medium steam turbines.
2. Reheat and stop valves for large and medium steam
3. Feed water boiler pump valve positioning.
4. Natural gas fuel valve position for gas turbines for throttle
5. Monitoring hydraulic fluid level in reservoir of feed water
pumps in nuclear reactor core.
Lei Yang

Applications of LVDT
• For manufacturing
1. Measuring final height placement for automotive wheel
2. Measuring injector height for diesel engines Feed water
boiler pump valve positioning.
3. Thickness measuring in multiple locations of fly-wheel to
insure balance.
4. Controlling depth of hole during machining operations in a
rotary transfer machine.
5. Providing indication and feedback position of rocket engine
nozzle actuators during testing.
Lei Yang

Other Applications

• Automation Machinery
• Civil / Structural Engineering
• Metal Stamping / Forming
• Pulp and Paper
• Industrial Valves
• R&D and Test
• Automotive Racing
Lei Yang

• http://www.macrosensors.com/lvdt_macro_sensors/lvdt_tutorial/index.h
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_variable_differential_transformer
• http://www.rdpe.com/displacement/lvdt/lvdt-principles.htm
• http://www.directindustry.com/industrial-manufacturer/lvdt-73930.html
• http://www.macrosensors.com/lvdt_macro_sensors/lvdt_products/lvdt_p
• Alexandre Lenoble’s lecture
Lei Yang

Thank you!