Narrow Bandwidth Light Detector
Hot steel emits a blinding
light that overwhelms conventional dimension sensing equipment employing optical sensors.
Harris Instrument Corp. of Columbus, Ohio makes a conventional sensor to measure the width
and position of material coming out of extruders and rollers, but the sensor can see only
the colder, less emissive material. Harris needed a simple, economical detector that could
see the edge of hot steel without being blinded by the light from the steel.
Researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Sensors Directorate, under a
Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) with Harris Instrument, invented
a solid state, high efficiency sensor that detects the edge of the hot steel while
ignoring the light and heat radiated by it. Initial experiments in Bethlehem Steel's hot
mill showed improvement over traditional sensors. AFRL Sensors Directorate has over 30
years experience developing solid state detectors. All aspects including device modeling,
design, material growth, and fabrication were carried out in an AFRL facility.
Harris first described the problem to Wright Technology Network (WTN). WTN arranged the
meeting, the CRADA, and the licensing agreement with AFRL.
- Manufacturers and processors of hot metals will benefit by using these new detectors to
measure bright hot features in situations requiring precise control.
- The Air Force can benefit by using this technology in covert laser communicators that
ignore ambient light signals.
- The Air Force will also benefit by earning a royalty on commercial sales of the
- Harris Instrument Corporation's product offers low-cost competition to Japanese steel
If you have any questions about this Cooperative Research and Development
Agreement or are interested in getting more information about technology
transfer and CRADA projects, please contact Jim Singer at Wright
Technology Network (937) 253-0217 or CRADA@wtn.org
- The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has issued a patent (#5,621,238) on the new AFRL
- The prototype sensor needs better sensitivity and can tolerate less side lobe
attenuation. AFRL researchers may be able to alter the detector to have the required
- Harris Instrument's recent growth in the cold metal measurement market prevents it from
developing instruments for the hot metal market.
- WTN is negotiating to license the patent with a firm that does hot metal measurements.
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