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Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146

Reective optical sensor for long-range and high-resolution displacements

Christine Prelle , Fr ed eric Lamarque, Philippe Revel
Universit e de Technologie de Compi` egne, Laboratoire Roberval, FRE UTC/CNRS 2833, France Received 18 February 2005; received in revised form 3 November 2005; accepted 6 November 2005 Available online 18 January 2006

Abstract This paper describes a miniature optical displacement sensor with millimetric range and nanometric resolution. This kind of sensor should be integrated in a mesomachine able to make accurate micro/nano-manipulation tasks on wide strokes. This sensor consists of a triangular grating and two ber optic probes. We introduce the sensor principle and the modeling. The grating is obtained by diamond turning on aluminum alloy. The agreement between simulation and experimental results is very good and the mini-sensor is able to measure a displacement with a 14.9 nm resolution over a 11.8 mm range. 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Fiber optic; Grating; Miniature displacement sensor; Diamond machining

1. Introduction Applications of miniaturisation technologies can now be found in many areas including optics, electronics and biotechnology to name a few. A particular interest is to design miniature sensors having a high relative accuracy (nanometric resolution and millimetric range; ratio 106 ) because this kind of measuring system is an important need for the development of the microfactory concept. As a matter of fact, miniature sensors are necessary in high accurate fabrication units of the microfactory but also in high accurate long strokes multidimensional assembly units or even high accurate conveyers between several workspaces of the microfactory. Different high-resolution sensors, based on diffractive interferometry, are available. They are able to measure displacements on millimetric range with a nanometric resolution. OlympusTM proposes an optical microencoder using a verticalcavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) [1]. This microencoder is 1.5 mm 2 mm 0.6 mm and has a 100 nm resolution after interpolation [2]. Using the same principle, an integrated double head sensor allows measures with 2 nm resolution [3]. CMOS technology is also used to integrate optical metrology (photodiode, analog and digital circuits) on a single chip. The result is an

Corresponding author. Tel.: +33 3 44 23 52 28; fax: +33 3 44 23 52 29. E-mail addresses: christine.prelle@utc.fr (C. Prelle), frederic.lamarque@utc.fr (F. Lamarque), philippe.revel@utc.fr (P. Revel). 0924-4247/$ see front matter 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.sna.2005.11.005

interferometric linear encoder principle using diffraction grating [4]. For all these sensors, nanometric resolution is obtained after applying an interpolation algorithm. Table 1 summarises different characteristics of the commercially available sensors and compares them to the ones described in the literature. It appears that the size of the sensor components (probe, grating) remains too big to be integrated in a meso-machine, except the sensor described in [2] where the resolution is however too low. The problematics of this study is three-fold. The developed sensor should satisfy antagonist requirements such as millimetric range, nanometric resolution and miniature size. They are very important in the meso-robotics eld, for example, in a nanopositioning task on a wide stroke. Fiber optic technology has been chosen because it can lead to a drastic reduction in sensor size. Actually, Ito et al. [5] have miniaturised a displacement ber optic sensor. The laser diode, photodiode and waveguide are integrated on a 0.8 mm 0.75 mm GaAs substrate. Following researches carried out by Wang [6] and Ikawa et al. [7], an analogic ber optic displacement sensor was developed to full the long-range and the nanometric resolution requirements. In previous works [8,9], the measure principle using a grating was described. The aim of this present paper is to explain the method used to make a custom prototype grating that allows a high-resolution measure on a long range. The rst section provides an overview of the sensor principle. Then, the critical points of the sensor design are listed and geometrical parameters of the custom grating are derived from an optimisation software. In the third section, grating fabrication


C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146

Table 1 Comparison between different high-resolution displacement sensors Type of sensor Interferometer ZMI Encoder LIP401A-Heidenhain Gmbh Microencoder Olympus [1,2] Microencoder CMOS [3,4] Fiber optic sensor D20PhiltecTM Roberval ber optic sensor 510ZygoTM Range Up to 10 m Up to 420 mm Not mentioned (length of the grating) Not mentioned (length of the grating) 20 m (linearity 1% FSO) <200 m (linearity 1% FSO) Resolution (nm) 10 5 100 2 7 1 Sensor head size 255 mm 63.5 mm 60.1 mm 17 mm 16 mm 26 mm 1.5 mm 2 mm 0.6 mm 10 mm 10 mm 30 mm 0.81 mm 38.1 mm 2 mm 10 mm

is explained. Finally, converging results from simulations and experiments indicate performances such as millimetric range and nanometric resolution. 2. Millimetric range and high-resolution sensor principle The common use of a displacement ber optic sensor has already been described [10,11,12]. The sensor probe used in this study consists of a ve ber optic bundle (Fig. 1). The emission ber placed in the center emits light on a at mirror (atness: /10). The light reected by the mirror is injected in the reception bers placed around the emission ber and guided to a PIN photodiode. The amount of reected light is a function of the distance between the sensor head and the mirror. In order to improve the signal to noise ratio, a lock-in detection is used to detect the PIN photodiode signal. The sensor limit of resolution is 1.6 nm rms [8]. The typical sensor response is shown in Fig. 2. It is divided into four zones. The rst one is the dead zone where the receiving bers cannot collect light yet because of the space between emission and reception bers. Zones 2 and 4 are strongly non linear and/or with poor resolution. Zone 3 is the highest sensitivity zone. The

range of zone 3 is variable according to the chosen linearity criterionthe smaller the criterion, the smaller the range. In the common use conguration of our sensor, the range (<200 m for a linearity criterion of 1%) is too short for long stroke and accurate applications. A way to increase the sensor range is to make the displacement direction of the mirror different from the normal vector of its surface resulting in the range multiplication by the (sin )1 ratio (Fig. 3). Of course, the limit of resolution increases in the same ratio but remains acceptable because of the very low limit of resolution of the sensor when it is commonly used. Fig. 4 gives an example of the range improvement for an angle = 45 . Taking a 1% linearity criterion, the range increases by 40%. Even with this way of use, the range of the sensor cannot be extended to several millimeters if maximum sensitivity constraint is required (output voltage always in zone 3). So, in

Fig. 3. Tilted mirror conguration.

Fig. 1. Fiber optic sensor.

Fig. 2. Probe sensitivity.

Fig. 4. Increase of the sensor range according to the angle (() = 90 common use; (***) = 45 ).

C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146


Fig. 5. Long-range sensor principle.

order to increase the range of the sensor while keeping a good resolution, the tilted mirror conguration was repeated and consequently a triangular grating was used (Fig. 5). In this case, periodical measure is obtained and so, the range is increased to the length of the grating. Henceforth, grating refers exclusively to the repeated tilted mirror conguration. Continuity of measure is problematic as the measure is lost when the sensor probe illuminates two teeth simultaneously. Two ber optic probes were used in order to avoid the crossing edge problem from one tooth to the next. When a probe is in front of two teeth, the second probe always gets a valid measure (Fig. 5). 3. Sensor parameters design In order to optimise the sensors performances, it is necessary to take into account different parameters. The optimisation criterion is to minimise the limit of resolution r in the direction of displacement. r = r sin (1)

Fig. 6. Grating and emitting ber parameters.

The illuminated zone diameter z is dened as follows: z = ef + 2d tan (2)

Firstly, the minimum diameter z is limited by the emission ber core diameter ef . Secondly, z depends on the numerical aperture of the emission ber, nair sin (nair 1), and on the distance d between the probe head and the grating tooth. This distance can be divided into two parts: dx = x sin depending on the probe position x and ds which is a security distance to avoid collisions between the probe and the grating during the movement. So, the limit condition for z is: z < l (length of a grating tooth) because the probe cannot illuminate more than one tooth otherwise the displacement measure is lost. Since z is limited, ds cannot be too long. However, ds cannot be chosen as small as desired because the probe diameter imposes an inferior limit on distance ds (Fig. 7): ds > tan 2 (3)

where r is the limit of resolution of the sensor in the common use. Of course, has to be as large as possible to decrease the sensor limit of resolution. Unfortunately, the height h and the length l of the grating teeth cannot be chosen freely, so is limited. The grating and ber optic parameters that limit r are presented here. These different parameters are listed in Table 2 and shown in Fig. 6. One of the limitations is due to the illuminated zone diameter z, on a grating tooth.

As described above, two probes are required to avoid crossing edge problem during a change of tooth. Both probes are subjected to the same constraints. Taking into account the only valid measurement part (when the emission ber illuminates only one tooth), the signal provided by a single probe measuring a lateral displacement is shown in Fig. 8a. The second probe has to provide a valid measure while the rst probe illuminates two teeth

Table 2 Grating and ber optic head parameters Symbol ef d dx ds x l h z Quantity Emitting ber diameter Probe diameter Emitting ber numerical aperture Distance between probe head and grating Distance: xsin Security distance Grating angle Lateral position Tooth length Tooth height Illuminated zone diameter Fig. 7. Distance between the sensor head and the grating.


C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146

Fig. 8. (a) One probe signal, (b) no overlap and (c) overlap. Fig. 9. Limit of resolution according to (h, l) couple.

simultaneously. If the grating dimensions and the distance ds are not well chosen, there will be no overlap between the two probe signals, so periodically, the measure is lost (Fig. 8b). An appropriate grating design will allow a small overlap xov , which has to be dened, in order to keep a valid measure along the whole range (Fig. 8c). The second probe is laterally placed at the distance from the rst probe: = n+ 1 2 l, n is an integer (4)

4. Grating fabrication In order to reach optimal performances of the sensor, it is necessary to manufacture a grating whose characteristics in term of form and surface quality are well controlled. The length and the height of the teeth must be as close as possible to the computed values and reproductible. Moreover, the teeth must be perpendicular and at. The sensor resolution rises with the reectivity factor of illuminated surface and this factor depends on roughness and atness of each tooth. In order to have a good reection (R > 95%) of the light emitted by the central ber, the surface must be like a polished mirror, i.e. to have a very low roughness (Ra < 10 nm). That is why a high precision machining technique was used. In our case, the grating was machined by high precision turning in our laboratory. The machine is a prototype lathe1 that has a T-slide architecture and operates under closely controlled environmental conditions (Fig. 10) [13,14]. On the z-axis slide-way, a magnetic-bearing spindle (with active control) is located. Firstly, obtaining a high quality form requires a spindle which must be well balanced to minimise the vibrations and also straight tool trajectories, i.e. slide-ways must be straight with reference to the spindle. Furthermore, the travel must be smooth. That is why the slide-ways of our machine are guided by hydrostatic-bearings, offering low friction and high stiffness and damping. The straightness of both slides is better than 0.3 m over a travel of 100 mm. An accurate numerical control (CNC) makes it possible to ensure very precise and stable positioning using two optical linear encoders with a 4 nm resolution [13]. These encoders lead to a good precision on length and height of the teeth. In addition, the adjustment of the tool compared to the axis of the spindle must be carried out with a precision close to the micrometer to get a precise length of the teeth. Secondly, it is obvious that all the elements of the machine taking part in the kinematics have great importance, but the tool, which is the last link in direct contact with the part, plays a
1 This machine was designed by SNECMA-moteurs company, with a nancial support of DRET.

This conguration is the best one to ensure a constant overlap for each crossing edge. After that, taking into account all these mechanical constraints, the remaining task is to optimise the sensor resolution. The best resolution is obtained when each probe is used in its best sensitivity zone (zone 3 in Fig. 2). Thus, to obtain the highest sensitivity for the long-range sensor and to ensure avoiding collisions, it is important to put the probe at well-dened security distance ds . This distance always allows to keep (ds + dx ) inside zone 3. Finally, taking into account all the previous system parameters, the tooth height h and length l are calculated to obtain an angle as large as possible to decrease the limit of resolution. We chose a ds = 30 m security distance so d = dx + 30 m. Moreover, we xed a minimum overlap xov = 30 m. Calculations with Matlab software give directly the limit of resolution as a function of (h, l) couples. When a system parameter is not veried for a (h, l) couple, limit of resolution is set to zero (Fig. 9). In the simulation, we xed the probe diameter to 2 mm; the emission ber diameter is 486 m and its numerical aperture is 0.46. During this simulation, the optimum (h, l) couple appears as (92, 1335 m) leading to a 33 m overlap and 14.5 nm limit of resolution. For a simpler fabrication of the grating, we chose (h = 90 m and l = 1350 m) that are very close to the optimum values. The angle calculated with these values is 3.81 . Besides, this grating size provides an overlap xov of the two probe signals of 43 m. For example, if the limit of resolution of the sensor in the common use is 1 nm, by using Eq. (1), the limit of resolution of the long-range sensor should be 15 nm.

C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146


major role in the surface quality. Single-crystal diamond is the most adapted tool because its edge has a very low waviness compared to a polycrystal diamond. As a consequence, it enables to reach a surface roughness of 4 nm rms, i.e. a polished mirror (Fig. 11) [14,15]. However, this choice is related to the nature of the machining material. Only aluminum or copper and their alloys or also silicon and germanium are machinable with the diamond tool. Therefore, we chose an aluminum alloy. During the machining, a micropulverisation in air of an adapted liquid (oil, etc.) is pressed onto the surface to evacuate the chip and prevent the damage of ductile surface. A monocrystalline tool with a square form was chosen in order to obtain perpendicular teeth [16] and machining parameters that permit grating fabrication are listed below: - spindle speed of 1000 rpm; - advance speed from 6 m/rev; - depth of cut in nishing of 10 m. Of course, with the lathe, the machined pieces are axisymmetric (Fig. 12). Consequently this grating is only used for test purpose to validate the measurement method. In our experiment, the relative displacement between the grating and the sensor

Fig. 10. Prototype lathe.

Fig. 11. Interferometric microscope measure of the AU4G machined material.


C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146

Fig. 12. Axisymmetric grating.

probes is along the radius (Rgrating = 17.5 mm) of the machined piece (Fig. 12). 5. Experimental results and discussion Experiments were carried out to verify validity of the model and expected performances. In the experiments, OMRON (E32D32) probes were used. The probes outer diameter was 2 mm. Each probe was made up of ve polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) multimode bers whose numerical aperture was 0.46. The central emission ber diameter was 486 m and the peripheral reception bers diameter was 240 m. Each probe sensitivity is shown in Fig. 13. Linear sensitivities are, respectively, 60.6 and 60.4 mV/m for the ber optic probes 1 and 2 (FOP1 and FOP2) with a linear criterion less than 0.9% on 80 m range. The experiments described below concern the resolution of the sensor and the long-range measure. 5.1. Resolution In order to measure each probe resolution, a very precise piezoactuator (PI 845-10) was necessary because the positioning stage used for the long-range measure was not precise enough. But due to the weight of the prototype grating and the weight of its mount, it was not possible to x them on the piezoactuator. Then, a light at mirror (atness: /10) was moved step by step in front of each probe, in the optical axis direction. With this probe resolution, we can indirectly determine the theoretical long-range sensor resolution. For example, Fig. 14 shows 2 nm mirror steps observed by one of the two FOPs. The lowest steps

Fig. 14. Sensor resolution.

observed were 1 nm. This implies that the sensor used with the calculated angle = 3.81 grating has a 15 nm theoretical limit of resolution (Eq. (1)). 5.2. Long-range measure Experimental setup for long-range measure is shown in Fig. 15. The two FOPs are in front the 17.5 mm long radius of the moving grating. The FOPs are orientated so that their optical axis is perpendicular to teeth surfaces. Due to the mechanical mount, the distance between the two probes is 4725 m (n = 3 in Eq. (4)). The grating is xed on a precise positioning stage with straightness less than 0.3 m over a 100 mm stroke. Fig. 16 shows the raw output voltages of the two probes when the grating moves at 0.5 mm/s. The valid measure of probe is the quasi-linear part of the response. For a part of the signals, Fig. 17 compares the experimental displacements deduced from the output voltages to the theoretical displacements computed with Matlab software. The theoretical signals are set to zero for a non-valid measure. A good agreement is observed between the theoretical and experimental data. So, the grating

Fig. 13. Probes sensitivities in the linear parts (FOP 1: continuous line; FOP 2: dashed line).

Fig. 15. Experimental setup for long-range measurement.

C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146


the sensor output voltage never reaches such high values shown in Fig. 18. 5.3. Discussion The previous results validate the measurement principle on a millimetric range (11.8 mm for the long-range experiment). The agreement between modeling and experimental data is the best in the zone shown in Fig. 16. In addition, we veried that FOPs have been placed near the mirror at a distance that permits to get the maximum sensitivity for each FOP (Fig. 13). In fact, these values are obtained when the output signal of FOPs is within the [48.5 V] interval. This interval is respected (Fig. 16). As a consequence, the expected 15 nm limit of resolution is conrmed. Nevertheless, due to the size of the prototype mechanical support of the two FOPs, the distance between the centers of the two FOPs is not optimised. Theoretically, we could choose n = 1 in Eq. (4), in order to have = 2025 m which is the minimal distance considering each FOP outer diameter. Due to FOPs mechanical mount we chose n = 3 ( = 4725 m). Minimising the distance between the two FOPs, the range can be extended close to 15.5 mm if the radius of the machined grating is 17.5 mm. In Fig. 16, we observe that maximum and minimum output voltages are varying from one tooth to the other one. This can be explained by taking into account small FOPs misalignment, slightly different values of distance ds for the two FOPs and fabrication errors in the teeth heights and lengths. In order to evaluate the global error, a measured angle was computed for each tooth, dividing the measured slope by the sensitivity of the concerned FOP. Table 3 shows experimental angle (in degrees). The experimental mean angle is 3.84 0.07 instead of a 3.81 theoretical angle. That means that instead of 15 nm theoretical resolution, the sensor is able to measure with a 14.9 0.3 nm resolution. Finally, the shape of the aluminum grating is not ideal for integrated systems but it is possible to obtain more integrated gratings using micromachining processes on silicon, for example. Besides, these microfabricated gratings with optimised size would allow to use a simplest and lightest mount, then it would be possible to x it on a piezoactuator to get a direct measure of the resolution of the long-range sensor.
Table 3 Measured angle for 10 teeth Tooth T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10 mes 3.850 3.795 3.755 3.748 3.801 3.864 3.838 3.838 3.865 4.022

Fig. 16. FOP 1 and FOP 2 raw signals.

Fig. 17. Comparison between theoretical and experimental results.

optimisation software, based on the modeling, used to design the grating as a function of FOPs specications (numerical aperture, diameter of the emission ber core, distance between FOPs and grating teeth, etc.) yields quite good results. We can see in Fig. 17 that there is enough overlap between raw FOPs signals to obtain the measure continuity on a 4 mm range, as shown in Fig. 18. In this gure, each linear measure of FOP1 and FOP2 are represented one after the other to show the quasilinear behaviour of the long-range measurement. This measure continuity is obtained with a slope detection algorithm able to detect the main rising part of each raw FOP signal. Of course,

Fig. 18. Measurement continuity.


C. Prelle et al. / Sensors and Actuators A 127 (2006) 139146 [8] C. Prelle, F. Lamarque, P.-E. Mazeran, A new method for high resolution position measurement on long range, J. Eur. Syst. Autom. 3639 (2002) 12951307. [9] F. Lamarque, C. Prelle, Analogic Fiber Optic Position Sensor with Nanometric Resolution, Proceedings of the IEEE Sensors 2002, Orlando, USA, June 1114, 2002, pp. 926930. [10] C. Kissinger, Fibre optic displacement measuring apparatus, US Patent 3,940,608 (1967). [11] Y. Alayli, D. Wang, M. Bonis, Optical ber prolometer with submicronic accuracy, Proc. SPIE 3509 (1998) 8487. [12] P.M.B.S. Gir ao, O.A. Postolache, J.A.B. Faria, J.M.C.D. Pereira, An overview and a contribution to the optical measurement of linear displacement, IEEE Sens. J. 14 (2001) 322331. [13] H. Khanr, M. Bonis, P. Revel, Improving atness in ultraprecision machining by attenuating spindle motion error, Int. J. Mach. Tools Manuf. 45 (2005) 841848. [14] H. Khanr, Etude du proc ed e dusinage de haute pr ecision par outil de coupe et des techniques de mesures et de caract erisation adapt ees, Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Tech. Compi` egne, 2002. [15] W. K onig, M. Weck, N. Spenrath, J. Luderich, Tutorial on Diamond Machining Technology, 6th IPES UME 2, Braunschweig, Germany, 1991. [16] Y. Alayli, D. Wang, M. Bonis, P. Revel, H. Khanr, Optical Fibers Prolometer for Diamond Machined Surfaces Characterisation, Proceedings of ASPE98, St. Louis, MO, USA, 1998.

6. Conclusion A new use of a well-known ber optic sensor principle was studied. This miniature sensor gathered with a triangular grating allowed displacement measure on millimetric ranges. The geometric modeling of the components of the sensor such as ber optic specications, grating teeth height and length, roughness of the teeth was helpful to control the resolution of the measurement. This modeling was used to create a grating optimisation software. The requirements were important, so a diamond machining technique was used to fabricate a prototype grating. Numerical results were validated by experiments and 14.9 0.3 nm rms limit of resolution is obtained on a 11.8 mm range. On 4 mm, the agreement between modeling and experimental data is the best. In the future, the grating optimisation software will be a useful tool to design gratings in order to get lower limit of resolution. It is planned to use silicon gratings to miniaturise the sensor, lower the limit of resolution and to optimise the distance between the two probes to improve the range. This kind of sensor can easily be integrated in a meso-machine or in any structure where the space available for sensor is restricted and millimetric range and high-resolution displacements are required. References
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Christine Prelle was born in France, in 1971. She received her DEA degree in automatic control in 1994 from the Claude Bernard University, Lyon, in France. In 1997, she received her PhD degree in industrial automatic control from the INSA of Lyon, France. She is now associate professor at the University of Technology of Compi` egne, France, in the Roberval Laboratory. Her research interests are micromechatronics and control. Fr ed eric Lamarque was born in France, in 1971. He received his DEA degree in electronics from the Paris-Sud-Orsay University. In 1998, he received his PhD degree in electronics from the Paris-Sud-Orsay University. He is now associate professor at the University of Technology of Compi` egne, France, in the Roberval Laboratory. His research interest is focused on sensors technology. Philippe Revel was born in France, in 1960. He received his DEA degree in mechanical and material engineering from the Technological University of Compi` egne in 1986. In 1991, he received his PhD degree in mechanical and material engineering from the Technological University of Compi` egne. Since 1992, he is associate professor at the University of Technology of Compi` egne. His research interests are focused on the thermomechanical behavior of material and high precision machining. He studies particularly the effect of diamond turning on the integrity of machined surfaces.