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The Quadbeam Alternating The 90 degree light scattering principle
(ISO27027) is the preferred method for low
Light Principle for Suspended range turbidity measurements. However, most
Solids Measurement of these instruments use a single beam design.
Single beam instruments rely on mechanical
TM cleaners to eliminate variations due to dirt
The purpose of the Quadbeam Alternating
accumulation, but do not compensate for aging
Light Principle design is to improve the
or voltage variations.
measurement reliability of optical suspended
solids and turbidity instruments. Sensors that
The alternating light principle of suspended
use the Quadbeam TM technology compensate
solids measurement has been known for many
for most sources of measurement error,
years and we make no claim to its originality.
providing unrivalled accuracy and reliability
However we have made major improvements to
when compared with competitive systems.
both its performance and reliability.
The most basic method of suspended solids
measurement is obtained by shining a light of
known intensity a fixed distance through a
medium to a photocell detector. Suspended
solids in the medium attenuate some of the
light. The detector receives light not absorbed
by the solids. The quantity ofl ight received
gives a measure of the attenuation by the
medium which corresponds to suspended
solids concentration or turbidity

The optical method of suspended solids Series 20 Immersion Style

measurement depends on several variables, Suspended Solids Sensor
including light source intensity and detector
sensitivity. Variations in these parameters will
introduce errors.

The main causes ofl ight source variations are:

Dirt accumulation.
Ageing of the light sources.
Voltage variations at the light source.

The main causes of detector variation:

Dirt accumulation.
Ageing of the detectors.

The Quadbeam™ principle of light attenuation

eliminates almost all variations when Series 20 Hygienic Style Suspended
measuring suspended solids. Solids Sensor specially manufactured
for the food and dairy industry

MeasurIT Technologies Ltd.

Craan, Craanford, email: Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962
Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963
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measurIT technologies

The Alternating Light

Principle Explained
One Light-One Detector X1
Ix 1
The simplest method of optical suspended
solids measurement is shown in Figure 1. Light
(E) strikes a photocell detector (D) that E1 D1
generates an electrical current (I). The
detector output current (I) is a function of the
intensity of the light source (E), the detector Ix 2
characteristics (D), the distance between the
light source and the detector (X) and
absorption by the medium ( ). D2
Fig 2: One light and two detectors

Ix 1 = 80µA Ix 1 80µA
= =2
E D Ix 2 = 40µA Ix 2 40µA

Fig 1: One light and one detector

The ratio increases with an increase in
Although the distance between the light source absorption. Distance is not a variable because
and detector is fixed, uncontrollable variations in both distance values are fixed. This method
both light intensity and detector sensitivity will compensates for light variation. The ratio
still be sources of error. There is no remains constant ifl ight reaching each
compensation for reduced system performance detector is also reduced by 25%.
due to component ageing or contamination. For
example, if the light intensity is reduced by Ix 1 = 60µA Ix 1 60µA
= =2
accumulated dirt on the light source window, the Ix 2 = 30µA Ix 2 30µA
smaller signal received by the detector will be
interpreted by the system as an increase in
However, a dirty or ageing detector in the
suspended solids concentration.
system could produce inaccurate
measurement because it would affect the
output of only one detector. This variable would
One Light-Two Detectors be interpreted by the system as a change in
Measurement accuracy of a one light, one suspended solids concentration.
detector system can be improved by adding a
second detector at a greater distance (X 2) from
the light source Fig 2. Two Lights-One Detector
Measurement Accuracy of the one light - one
Since physical law dictates that light intensity detector system can also be improved by using
decreases as a function of distance, the output one detector with two light sources, switched
of the more distant detector (D2 ) will always be on and offalternately, (Fig 3). The detector
lower than the output of the closer detector signals, expressed as a ratio Ix 1/Ix 2 provides a
(D 1 ) because it will receive less light. measurement value that depends on absorption
by the medium but does not depend upon
The output of both detectors expressed as a detector sensitivity.
ratio, lx 1/lx2 , is a measurement value that
depends on absorption by the medium but does Ix 1 = 80µA Ix 1 80µA
= =2
not depend on light source intensity. Ix 2 = 40µA Ix 2 40µA

MeasurIT Technologies Ltd.

Craan, Craanford, email: Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962
Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963
represented by:

measurIT technologies

Again, the ratio increases with an increase in via paths X 1 and X 2 respectively. D 1 and D2
absorption. Distance is not a variable because generate signals based on the amplitude ofl ight
both distances are fixed. each photodetector receives. A ratio (Ra) is
created by comparing these results.
X1 Ix 1 Ix 1 80µA
Ra = = =2
Ix 2 Ix 2 40µA

Because any change in the characteristics of

E1 D1
E1 (due to age or contamination) will, affect D1
and D2 equally, this ratio will remain constant .
X2 For example, if the light output of E1 is reduced
by 25 %, the signals generated by D1and D2 will
both be reduced accordingly, but the ratio will
remain the same. This eliminates the effects of
E2 contamination on E1.
Fig 3: Two lights and one detector
Ix 1 60µA
Ra = = =2
This method compensates for changes in Ix 2 30µA
detector sensitivity. Any reduction in detector
sensitivity lowers the input from each light The same procedure is performed using E2 ,
source by the same factor and results in a across paths X3 and X4 and a similar ratio (Rb)
constant ratio. However, light intensity is created. This eliminates the effects of
variation caused by dirt accumulation, ageing of contamination on E 2 .
the light source or a fluctuation in voltage would
produce inaccurate measurement because it Ix 3 30µA
would reduce the intensity of the one light Rb = = = 0.5
Ix 4 60µA

To eliminate the effects of contamination or

Two Lights-Two Detectors component aging on the detectors, a ratio
comparing Ra and Rb is made.
The Quadbeam Alternating light principle
compensates for variations in both light Ra 2
intensity and detector sensitivity. It features = =4
Rb 0.5
two light sources (LED’s) which are switched on
and offalternately and two detector, (Fig 4).
Because a change in the sensitivity of D1 or D 2
(due to age or contamination) will reduce the
X1 Ix 1 light received from E1 and E 2 equally, this ratio
Ix 3 remains constant even if the characteristics of
X2 D1 or D 2 change. For example if dirt covers 25 %
E1 D1 of D1 , light received from both E 1 and E 2 will be
reduced by 25 % but the ratio will remain the
Ix 1 60µA
X3 Ra =
Ix 2
= 1.5
Ix 2
Ix 4 Ix 3 22.5µA
X4 Rb =
Ix 4
= 0.375
E2 D2 Ra 1.5
Fig 4 Two lights and two detectors- = =4
Rb 0.375
Quadbeam TM Alternating Light Principle

By using these ratios, rather than the direct

When E1is turned ‘ON’ light is transmitted output from D1 and D 2 , the effects of
through the process media and each contamination and component aging are
photodetector (D1 and D 2 ) receives the light eliminated.

MeasurIT Technologies Ltd.

Craan, Craanford, email: Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962
Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963
represented by:

measurIT technologies

Ambient light is detected by D1 and D2 while E 1 The measurement is performed using

and E 2 are off. The resulting "offset" signal is alternating light. Emitter 1 (an LED) is turned
used to correct the measurement. All signals “ON” and emitter 2 is turned “OFF”. D1
are linearised and combined to produce a receives the direct path signal of E1 while D2
reliable 0/4-20mA output signal which is receives the 90 degree scattered path signal,
proportional to solids concentration. (Fig 5). Both of these values are stored in
memory. Then both emitters (E1and E2) are
By using single wavelength diodes [88nm] turned “OFF” and the output of the detectors is
which are outside the visible light spectrum again measured and this value is used to
Quadbeam sensors are also insensitive to compensate the measurement for ambient
colour. light.

Quadbeam Technologies designs sensors of

different sensitivity and measuring range by E1
changing the distances between the sensor’s
light sources and detectors. When they are far
apart, the sensor is more sensitive to
suspended solids because the longer optical
path lengths increase the sensors ability to E 1 scatter
detect small changes in suspended solids path
E 2 direct
However, because an increase in distance path
reduces the amount of detected light intensity, E2 D2
optical path length also determines the
E 2 scatter E 1 direct
measuring range. For example, in two sensors path path
with identical light sources, the sensor with
longer path lengths will detect less light
therefore it reaches the upper limit ofi ts
measuring range at a lower concentration and
Fig 5: Turbidity sensor direct
has a smaller measuring range. The sensor with and scattered light principle
shorter path lengths can measure higher
concentrations and has a larger measuring
range. Then emitter 2 is now turned “ON” and the
receiver diodes now change roles as D2 now
measures the direct path and D1 the 90
“T” Series Sensors degree scatter path. The measurements
Quadbeam Turbidity Sensors conform to ISO obtained from detectors D1 and D2 are again
27027 as they are true nephelometers which placed into memory. As before, when both
measure light at 90 degrees to the emitters are “OFF” a measurement of the
transmitted light. detector currents are taken for ambient light
compensation. For each complete cycle a total
The basic philosophy of the Quadbeam of 8 measurements are stored in the sensor’s
suspended solids sensors have been microprocessor.. Digital communication is used
incorporated in to the T30 sensor in that it between the microprocessor in the sensor and
uses the detector ratios to eliminate the the MSSD53 Transmitter.
effects of aging and contamination providing
superior span stability.

MeasurIT Technologies Ltd.

Craan, Craanford, email: Phone: +353 (0) 53 942 8962
Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland Fax: +353 (0) 53 942 8963