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20 May 2016 RF switching network: a novel technique for IR sensing
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Rapid sensing of near infrared (IR) energy on a composite structure would provide information that could mitigate damage to composite structures. This paper describes a novel technique that implements photoconductive sensors in a radio frequency (RF) switching network designed to locate in real time the position and intensity of IR radiation incident on a composite structure. In the implementation described here, photoconductive sensors act as rapid response switches in a two layer RF network embedded in an FR-4 laminate. To detect radiation, phosphorous doped silicon photoconductive sensors are inserted in GHz range RF transmission lines. Photoconductive sensors use semiconductor materials that are optically sensitive at material dependent wavelengths. Incident radiation at the appropriate wavelength produces hole-electron pairs, so that the semiconductor becomes a conductor. By permitting signal propagation only when a sensor is illuminated, the RF signals are selectively routed from the lower layer transmission lines to the upper layer lines, thereby pinpointing the location and strength of incident radiation on a structure. Simulations based on a high frequency 3D planar electromagnetics model are presented and compared to experimental results. Experimental results are described for GHz range RF signal control for 300 mW and 180 mW incident energy from 975 nm and 1060 nm wavelength lasers respectively, where upon illumination, RF transmission line signal output power doubled when compared to non-illuminated results. Experimental results are reported for 100 W incident energy from a 1060 nm laser. Test results illustrate that real-time signal processing would permit a structure or vehicle to be controlled in response to incident radiation
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Deborah M. Mechtel, R. Brian Jenkins, Peter J. Joyce, and Charles L. Nelson "RF switching network: a novel technique for IR sensing", Proc. SPIE 9819, Infrared Technology and Applications XLII, 981925 (20 May 2016);

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