You are on page 1of 3


1, FEBRUARY 1997

Application of a PLL and ALL Noise

Reduction Process in Optical Sensing Systems
D. F. Clark and T. J. Moir

Abstract— A novel approach to the demodulation of a frequency

modulated optical signal using an amplitude-locked loop (ALL) in the
presence of noise is presented. The ALL is the mathematical dual of the
phase-locked loop (PLL), but works on amplitude rather than phase. This
technique will benefit areas where noise due to scattering or multiple
reflections is present.
Index Terms— Amplitude-locked loop (ALL), heterodyne detection,
optical sensing, phase-locked loop (PLL).
Fig. 1. Optical vibration sensor.

frequency, the above FM signal presents no difficulties and can be
Optical remote free-space sensing has many applications [1]. demodulated in the usual way.
However, it is generally recognized that a major drawback with these
coherent detection systems is that interference generated by scattering
from extraneous sources along the free space path decreases the III. THE PROBLEM OF ATMOSPHERIC SCATTERING
detection sensitivity. The problem has remained unsolved because In practice, an extra additive term arises from atmospheric scatter-
of the nature of the interference, which when decoded, appears as ing along the propagation path. If the magnitude of this scattering is
spikes of multiplicative noise which cannot be filtered in the usual m; at a frequency !r ; then the signal at the PD will be
The problems of interference between the desired signal and s(t) = AR cos[(!c + !AO )t + sin(!D t)] + m cos(!r t): (4)
scattered light can be solved by using the technology offered by the
amplitude-locked loop (ALL) [2]–[4]. Using the ALL, the interfer- Using trigonometric identities, the above signal can be represented
ence can be significantly reduced, and the purpose of this letter is as

s(t) = r(t)cos[(!c + !AO )t + sin(!D t) + (t)]:

to show how this may be applied to any coherent detection scheme
used for optical sensing. (5)

( +
If the reflected frequency !r is at the same frequency as !c !AO )
() ()
then r t and  t in (5) becomes
A typical optical free-space sensing system consisting of a laser,
three beam splitters (BS 1–3), a photodetector (PD) and an acoustoop- r(t) = A2R + 2AR m cos( sin(!D t)) + m2
tic modulator (AO) is shown in Fig. 1. The laser provides an output
which is split by BS1 and BS2 to give a reference signal at the PD (t) = arctan
0m sin( sin(!D t)) :
cos( ) AR + m cos( sin(!D t))
of AL !c t : The other signal from BS1 is frequency-shifted by
the AO to give an output of
The PD output now becomes
ai (t) = AL cos(!c + !AO )t: (1)
s(t) = fr(t) 1 cos[(!r t) + sin(!D t) + (t)]
+ AL cos(!ct)g2 :
The output from the AO hits the target and is Doppler-shifted by
virtue of the target vibrating. Ignoring atmospheric scattering, the (7)

 r(t), then
return signal incident on the PD is
Expanding the above expression and assuming AL
a0 (t) = AR cos[(!c + !AO )t + sin(!D t)]: (2) the output will be
In the above, is the (FM) modulation index given by = s(t) 
= r(t)AL cos[!AO t + sin(!D t) + (t)]
1!D =!D where !D is the Doppler shift frequency and !D is 1 (8)
the peak frequency deviation. The return signal then interferes with
which is a frequency modulated signal at a carrier offset frequency
the reference to produce an electrical output from the PD:
!AO : Assuming the FM detector to be immune to amplitude changes
A2L and normalizing AL = 1; a typical PLL FM detector will give
aD (t) 
= 2 + AL AR cos[!AO t + sin(!D t)] (3)
(ideally) a waveform of the form !inst (t) where

1 0 m[m + cos(d( t)sin(!D t))]

i.e., a dc term plus a frequency-modulated carrier with baseband
frequency !D : After down conversion to a suitable intermediate !inst (t) = !D cos(!D t) (9)

Manuscript received January 25, 1996; revised February 20, 1996.

The authors are with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineer- and d t ( ) = 1 + 2 cos( sin
m !D t m2 : )+
ing, University of Paisley, Paisley, PA1 2BE U.K. This kind of waveform has spikes, which cause severe distortion,
Publisher Item Identifier S 0278-0046(97)00081-6. and has been well documented [5].

0278–0046/97$10.00  1997 IEEE



Fig. 2. (a) Amplitude-locked loop. (b) Noise cancellation.


Fig. 2(a) shows the block diagram of an ALL [2]–[4] and [6] which
relies on the principle of FM transmission at a fixed amplitude.
The ALL is a closed-loop high-bandwidth servo system working on
amplitude, rather than frequency, consisting of a modulus detector, an
integrator, a linear multiplier, and summing junctions. For simplicity,
the setpoint of the loop is normalized to unity and the dc restoration
ensures that the integrator swings around zero.
Provided the ALL is “in-lock” with an input via (8),
s(t) = AL r(t) cos[!AO t + sin(!D t) + (t)]: (10)
Then, the waveforms y (t); f (t) and c(t) in Fig. 2(a) (ideally) take
the form
y(t) = (11)
AL r(t)
c(t) = [1 + e(t)] cos[!AO t + sin(!D t) + (t)] (12)

f (t) =
AL r(t)
0 1 = 1 0ALArL(rt)(t) : (13)

The signal y (t) is the inverse envelope of s(t) while c(t) is the
carrier waveform with amplitude modulation 1 + e(t) where e(t) is a
small error dependent on loop gain. The ALL frequency effectively
“servos out” any amplitude variations and leaves the carrier waveform
c(t) and the inverse envelope y(t): The shape of y(t) and f (t) is
similar to the spikes on the FM demodulator output. However, if
y(t) or f (t) is scaled and subtracted from the noisy signal, the noise
would add in one half cycle and cancel on the other. A solution is
found by multiplying f (t) by a PLL demodulated output. The block
diagram of the overall system is shown in Fig. 2(b).
For m = 0:6 and AL = 1; Fig. 3 shows the performance of the
Fig. 3. PLL output and noise cancelled output.
noise cancellation system. It can be seen that the noise spikes have
been significantly attenuated.
Detection of light scattered gives rise to a multiplicative noise term
V. CONCLUSIONS at the demodulator output. The ALL noise cancellation is the ideal
This letter addressed the problem of reducing the effect of inter- demodulator for this type of problem and should prove invaluable for
ference caused by scattering in free-space optical sensing systems. future applications involving other coherent detection systems.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT loop filter along with the motor introduced low-pass network are
responsible for this behavior. A phase detector already proposed [2],
The authors are indebted to A. M. Pettigrew, AMPSYS Ltd., for which gives a dc output voltage proportional to phase difference
his help and assistance in writing this paper. input, makes the use of the loop filter unnecessary and, therefore,
results in reducing the system’s response time. Phase difference 18
REFERENCES is detected by this circuit every half-period of the two input signals
[1] G. Swan, Principles of Modern Optical Systems, Andonovic and Uttam, and a pulse train proportional in duration and sign to 18 is produced
Eds. Norwood, MA: Artech House, 1987, ch. 13. (VP in Fig. 1). An integrator converts pulse duration to voltage (VI in
[2] A. M. Pettigrew and T. J. Moir, Electron. Lett., vol. 27, p. 1082, 1991. Fig. 1) and a holding circuit keeps this voltage steady until the next
[3] T. J. Moir and A. M. Pettigrew, Electron. Lett., vol. 28, p. 814, 1992. detection leads to a new value of the output voltage VD : Information
[4] A. M. Pettigrew and T. J. Moir, J. AES, vol. 41, p. 998, 1993.
about phase difference is considered sampled, since it is detected
[5] M. S. Corrington, RCA Rev., vol. 7, p. 522, 1946.
[6] T. J. Moir, Electron. Lett., vol. 31, p. 694, 1995. every half-period of the input signals.
The sample and hold phase detector’s (SHPD) output VD is
amplified and added to an offset voltage Vo before entering motor
driving circuit. Voltage Vo is used to bias the SHPD’s output to
positive values only and determines system free running frequency
= +
fo : The resulting voltage Vm Vo AVD is the driving input signal
of the motor. The motor is represented by a transfer function
Analysis of Unlocked and Acquisition Operation
f (s)
Gm (s) = m = 1 +kTo m s
of a Phase-Locked Speed Control System
Vm (s)
C. A. Karybakas and Theodore L. Laopoulos
where Tm is it’s mechanical time constant (s) and ko is motor constant
(Hz/V). Feedback frequency fF is fF = = +
nfm fo f; where n is
Abstract—A study of a phase-locked speed control system is presented, encoder’s density, fo is the free-running frequency, and f is output
focusing on the out-of-lock operation. System behavior is discussed for
each case, while acquisition operation is described by phase plane analysis variable frequency component.
and capture mechanism is explained. Experimental results for a system The experimental system was built using a small, permanent
developed are also given. magnet, 150-W dc motor driven by a transistor power circuit,
Index Terms—Phase detectors, phase-locked loop, phase-locked motor while the encoder was an optical one based on an infrared LED-
speed control. phototransistor pair. Test results indicated considerable improvement
in system speed regulation, speed variation, and response time. Actual
system parameters are: Tm = 0 029
; s, ko = 15 5: Hz/V, and
It should be noted here that, although present analysis describes
Motor speed control systems based on the phase-locked loop the actual PLSC system developed, the operation of any other PLSC
(PLL) principle have already been presented in the literature. The system based on any fast-response phase detector [5, and others] is
operation of various systems of this kind has been described, and similar and, therefore, may be studied in a similar way.
precise speed regulation has been reported. PLL has excellent tracking
performance, but it tends to be slow and unreliable in acquisition
[1], [3]. Acquisition of phase locked speed control (PLSC) systems
has not been extensively discussed, especially for systems with fast-
response phase detectors [2], [5]. Considered next is a typical case of system operation under un-
This letter presents a description of the out-of-lock behavior of ( )
locked conditions fR < fF : The SHPD’s output waveform results
a PLSC system developed. The system is based on a sample-and- from the combination of the two input signals as shown in Fig. 1.
hold phase detector already proposed [2]. A detailed presentation of Since the SHPD cannot detect phase difference outside 0;  ( +)
the locked operation of this system, along with an analysis of the interval, it’s output will take the form of this normalized waveform
synchronization (hold-in) range, has been previously published [4]. (VD in Fig. 1). Characteristic quantities of this waveform which are
The unlocked operation of this system is considered here, and it is period TD and peak-to-peak amplitude E; may now be determined.
studied on the basis of a detailed analysis of the operation of all Period TD will be equal to the time interval that the two signals
sections. Phase plane analysis is presented, and acquisition operation ( =
return to the same relative position tn aTR = ( +1) )
a TF ; hence,
is examined theoretically and verified experimentally.
TD = tn = aTR = TRTR0TFTF = fF 01 fR ) f = fF 0 fR (2)
A serious limitation of phase locked speed control (PLSC) systems
and the SHPD’s output frequency is equal to the difference of
is related to the usually large system response time. Low-pass
the two input frequencies. Amplitude E may be calculated by
multiplying the voltage-step value V by the total number of steps
Manuscript received January 30, 1996; revised May 21, 1996.
The authors are with the Electronics Laboratory, Physics Department, per period and results finally to be E =
KI TF ; where KI is
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54006 Thessaloniki, Greece. the time constant of the SHPD’s integration. The (p-p) amplitude
Publisher Item Identifier S 0278-0046(97)00082-8. of the SHPD’s output signal is proportional to the high frequency

0278–0046/97$10.00  1997 IEEE