A small sized electro-optic voltage sensor capable of accurate measurement of high levels of voltages without contact with a conductor or voltage source is provided. When placed in the presence of an electric field, the sensor receives an input beam of electromagnetic radiation into the sensor. A polarization beam displacer serves as a filter to separate the input beam into two beams with orthogonal linear polarizations. The beam displacer is oriented in such a way as to rotate the linearly polarized beams such that they enter a Pockels crystal at a preferred angle of 45 degrees. The beam displacer is therefore capable of causing a linearly polarized beam to impinge a crystal at a desired angle independent of temperature. The Pockels electro-optic effect induces a differential phase shift on the major and minor axes of the input beam as it travels through the Pockels crystal, which causes the input beam to be elliptically polarized. A reflecting prism redirects the beam back through the crystal and the beam displacer. On the return path, the polarization beam displacer separates the elliptically polarized beam into two output beams of orthogonal linear polarization representing the major and minor axes. In crystals that introduce a phase differential attributable to temperature, a compensating crystal is provided to cancel the effect of temperature on the phase differential of the input beam. The system may include a detector for converting the output beams into electrical signals, and a signal processor for determining the voltage based on an analysis of the output beams. The output beams are amplitude modulated by the frequency of the electric field and the amplitude of the output beams is proportional to the magnitude of the electric field, which is related to the voltage being measured.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223 between the United States Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company, now Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 with Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC.