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Electro-optic voltage sensor with beam splitting

United States Patent

December 10, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Idaho National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office Website
The invention is a miniature electro-optic voltage sensor system capable of accurate operation at high voltages without use of the dedicated voltage dividing hardware typically found in the prior art. The invention achieves voltage measurement without significant error contributions from neighboring conductors or environmental perturbations. The invention employs a transmitter, a sensor, a detector, and a signal processor. The transmitter produces a beam of electromagnetic radiation which is routed into the sensor. Within the sensor the beam undergoes the Pockels electro-optic effect. The electro-optic effect produces a modulation of the beam's polarization, which is in turn converted to a pair of independent conversely-amplitude-modulated signals, from which the voltage of the E-field is determined by the signal processor. The use of converse AM signals enables the signal processor to better distinguish signal from noise. The sensor converts the beam by splitting the beam in accordance with the axes of the beam's polarization state (an ellipse) into at least two AM signals. These AM signals are fed into a signal processor and processed to determine the voltage between a ground conductor and the conductor on which voltage is being measured.
Woods; Gregory K. (Cornelius, OR), Renak; Todd W. (Idaho Falls, ID), Davidson; James R. (Idaho Falls, ID), Crawford; Thomas M. (Idaho Falls, ID)
Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC (Idaho Falls, ID)
09/ 667,116
September 20, 2000
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223, now Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.