Breakthrough Sensor Technology Discriminating Advantages and Application Summaries
1. Executive Summary
Breakthrough sensor technology with never before technical capabilities is nearly ready for design and production in a myriad of applications. Homeland security, military, medical, industrial and scientific applications are areas where this sensor can make rapid and revolutionary changes in how we live and do things. This sensor could have a progression similar to the computer chip over the last 40 years – with all of the new low cost high performing products found in all fields of human endeavor. A brief summary is shown of where the first novel applications may occur utilizing this enabling sensor technology. Only the limits of our imagination prevent us from creating more.
2. Discriminating Technical Advantages
2.1 Sensitivity in low frequency response – absolute-position sensor easily senses from near sub-millihertz spectrum (0.0001 Hz) to the 500 Hz. No other world class sensor in this class can perform in the sub-millihertz spectrum.
2.2 One nanometer resolution – The resolution in the entire spectrum is about one nanometer.
2.3 Super wide bandwidth– For some special applications the bandwidth may be even expanded: that new absolute-position sensor, in general, may start sense from near zero (static) to 50 kilohertz, which is a huge discriminating advantage.
2.4 Ultra wide dynamic range – Sensor has a wide dynamic range covering six orders of magnitude, i.e., the sensor can sense position shifts from a range of 1 nanometer through one millimeter.
2.5 Rugged for all environments – Sensor can be utilized in many environments – above, on, or below ground and/or underwater to one nanometer resolution.
2.6 Small size and producible – Sensor design is small (close to cell phone size), simple and low cost when manufactured in a high volume automated production environment.
3. Sensor Applications
3.1 Homeland Security Applications
3.1.1 Passive early warning zone/border security systems – sensor can help protect US borders by sensing intruders on foot or in vehicles hundreds of meters to several kilometers distant (quantity, direction and velocity), tunnel digging and in tunnel transport movement. Protection can also be afforded to high value infrastructure such as nuclear or conventional power plants, airports, seaports, refineries, dams, bridges, pipelines, government buildings, banks, etc.
3.2 Military Applications
3.2.1 Passive early warning systems - sensor provides passive early warning border/zone security systems for air and naval bases, supply/maintenance depots and other high value infrastructure. Area denial is also another application. Utilizing pattern recognition and signature analysis, intruders on foot or vehicle bound can be identified by quantity, type, direction and velocity from hundreds of meters to several kilometers away.
3.2.2 Passive detection system for underground military production facilities – This sensor is capable of detecting underground human activities and production facilities (location and depth).
3.2.3 Passive underwater detection – Applications can be in port security as well as naval underwater sensing of very slow movement activities.
3.3 Medical Applications
3.3.1 Portable hand-held diagnostic system– cell phone sized sensor is capable of detecting extremely low power absorption (10–9 watts) allowing development of equipment that acts like an MRI for portable field applications. This sensor is capable of detecting and measuring if vascular flow is interrupted by trauma or other vascular damage (i.e., blocked arteries).
3.3.2 Medical diagnostic sensor for human respiratory system– A small sensor array is placed on the patient’s back to pick up signals (sounds) in the human lung. After readily available pattern recognition processing is done in just a few minutes, the practitioner can determine functional lung capacity to help diagnose respiratory diseases (a prototype system is currently being developed).
3.3.3 Medical diagnostic sensor for intracranial vascular flow– Placement of this sensor on the temporal area of the head could noninvasively measure intracranial vascular flow. Any impediment to the normal vascular flow will be detected utilizing signal processing. No radiation and no intravenous contrast are required as compared to current Computer Tomography (CT scan technology) or MRI. Head gear and clothing embedded with this sensor can monitor human health status.
3.3.4 Medical diagnostic sensor for cardiac function– Preliminary results indicate this sensor could be used as a laboratory based super-high sensitivity noninvasive cardiogram to evaluate cardiac function (i.e., volume, pressure & wall motion) and determine if a heart attack has occurred.
3.3.5 Medical diagnostic sensor for muscular function– Preliminary results indicate this sensor could be used as a new tool to measure muscular function such as muscle contraction frequency and amplitude abnormalities to detect neuromuscular diseases.
3.4 Industrial Applications
3.4.1 Truck & automotive engine timing sensors – sensor, without direct physically coupling, can measure movement and rotation. Therefore, this sensor can be attached to the engine block exterior to accurately determine piston location and camshaft rotation for optimal engine combustion resulting in reduced fuel consumption, increased engine performance, and lower emissions. In the near future, camshafts and timing gears can also be totally eliminated with the advent of low cost electronic actuators operating in combination with this sensor. Reduced parts count will significantly contribute to lighter weight, improved fuel economy and smaller engine package size while reducing production cost.
3.4.2 Airframe fatigue crack detector – Currently, fatigue crack detection in aircraft fuselages and helicopter blades is difficult, expensive and/or not 100% conclusive. However, this sensor’s small, lightweight, high sensitivity and ultra-wide frequency bandwidth may allow it to sense cracks that are either difficult or impossible when utilizing conventional methods.
3.4.3 Ultra wide bandwidth microphones– sensors are very sensitive absolute-position sensors enabling them to be used as ultra wide band microphones in frequency ranges starting from millihertz up to 50 kilohertz. Such a wide microphone frequency bandwidth does not exist in today’s marketplace and is coupled with the advantage of low cost. Today’s professional microphones are of limited bandwidth and high purchase cost.
3.4.4 Sensors for oil and gas exploration by the use of the blast technology– sensor system can be designed to select and optimize sensitivity of desired frequency bandwidths specific to underground geological shifts and movements associated with natural gas and oil reservoirs. Consequently, the sensor can be used to detect such signals and be helpful to resolve a variety of issues related to the oil and gas industry’s search for new oil and gas deposits.
3.4.5 Suspension bridges and buildings maintenance early warning sensors– The extremely slow movement sensitivity of PSI sensors with about one nanometer resolution enables to detect slow movements and slow movement drift in buildings and suspension bridges which may go undetected and have disastrous effects over time (i.e., the undetected bridge collapse in Minnesota several years ago).
3.4.6 Thickness measuring tool – PSI preliminary test results indicate that this sensor can be used as a tool for high precision thickness measuring with nanometer resolution. It possesses a very wide working range, measuring thicknesses up to one millimeter, with one nanometer resolution. These tools can be used in thin film production processes (i.e., precision optical and semiconductor component manufacturing), in biology and in medicine, etc. Analog thickness measuring tools have poor characteristics in comparison to this sensor. This sensor will be 10 to 100 times less costly.
3.4.7 Thermometer – Preliminary test results show that sensor can be used as a new, non-inertial, sensitive thermometer, which will work starting from almost absolute zero, up to 500 Kelvin, with micro-Kelvin resolution. This capability to measure at high resolution at ultra- low temperatures (absolute zero) is of great value for both industrial and scientific applications.
3.5 Scientific Applications
3.5.1 Earthquake precursor sensors – The ultra-wide bandwidth coupled with high sensitivity enables PSI sensors to resolve “precursor” ground shifts that are known to occur prior to an earthquake. Hence, PSI seismic sensors can be used to help scientific research groups that are trying to develop systems that can predict earthquakes in advance of their occurrence.
3.5.2 Magnetic field probe – A new direction in microscopy can be attained utilizing some specific inherent capabilities of these sensors (the high spatial resolution). It will provide the way to create radically new microscopes with a “non-perturbing” long-range action probes, based on a highly sensitive this new technology.
There is the potential for as many new inventions and products to be built as human ingenuity can imagine. Many types of homeland security, military, medical, industrial and scientific systems and equipment can be developed in the near future using this new sensor technology.