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Institute for Commercialization

Electromagnetic wave, reflective type, low cost, active proximity sensor for harsh environments

Reference Number: N 04-01

Inventors: Weiner, Scott M.; Cohen, Leonard D.; Paczkowski, Henry C.; Zuercher, Joseph C.

Owner: NISTAC

USPTO Link:5905380

Invention Summary

An electromagnetic, reflective type, active proximity sensor includes a transmitter, the transmitter including a voltage controlled oscillator circuit, a transmitter circular waveguide and a transmitter polarization circuit. The voltage controlled oscillator circuit generates an output signal which is modulated such that the frequency of the output signal varies over time between a range of frequencies. The frequency varying, output signal is provided to the transmitter circular waveguide and propagated to the transmitter polarization circuit where it is circularly polarized in a first circular direction. The circularly polarized, frequency varying, output signal is radiated by the transmitter to the target, where it strikes the target and reflects back toward the sensor to form return signals. The return signals, upon being reflected, rotate in a second circular direction opposite to the first circular direction. The return signals also respectively exhibit one of the frequencies corresponding to the range of frequencies associated with the circularly polarized, frequency varying, output signal. The active proximity sensor also includes a receiver, the receiver including a receiver circular waveguide, a receiver polarization circuit and a detector. The receiver circular waveguide receives the return signals reflected from the target and the receiver polarization circuit circularly de-polarizes the return signals. Next, the detector receives and averages the return signals and generates an output signal which corresponds to the return signals. The active proximity sensor also includes an analog processor/driver circuit for processing the output signal provided by the detector.