(19)
(11)EP 3 647 712 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 19206255.2

(22)Date of filing:  30.10.2019
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01B 5/016  (2006.01)
G01B 7/016  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 01.11.2018 US 201816178295

(71)Applicant: Mitutoyo Corporation
Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 213-8533 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • COOK, Ted Stanton
    Kirkland, WA 98034 (US)
  • HARSILA, Scott Allen
    Kirkland, WA 98034 (US)

(74)Representative: MERH-IP Matias Erny Reichl Hoffmann Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Paul-Heyse-Strasse 29
80336 München
80336 München (DE)

  


(54)INDUCTIVE POSITION DETECTION CONFIGURATION FOR INDICATING A MEASUREMENT DEVICE STYLUS POSITION


(57) An inductive position detector (IPD) for stylus position measurement in a scanning probe comprises two substrates located along a central axis in the probe with a motion volume therebetween, each including N rotary sensing coils (RSCs) and respective axial sensing coil configurations (ASCC). A stylus-coupled conductive disruptor moves along Z (axial) and X-Y (rotary) directions in the motion volume. A generating coil (GC) generates a changing magnetic flux encompassing the disruptor and coils, and coil signals indicate the disruptor and/or stylus position. Axial projection of the disruptor defines axial sensing overlap area (ASOA) with the ASCC, and rotary sensing overlap areas (RSOAs) with respective RSCs. The IPD is configured such that the ASOA is independent of disruptor position, and N complementary pairs (CPs) of RSCs are provided, wherein the magnitude of the change in the RSOA in the two coils of a CP is the same for any disruptor displacement.




Description

BACKGROUND


Technical Field



[0001] This disclosure relates to precision metrology, and more particularly to inductive type sensing configurations for use in probes used with coordinate measuring machines.

Description of the Related Art



[0002] Coordinate measurement machines (CMM's) can obtain measurements of inspected workpieces. One exemplary prior art CMM described in U.S. Patent No. 8,438,746, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, includes a probe for measuring a workpiece, a movement mechanism for moving the probe, and a controller for controlling the movement. A CMM including a surface scanning probe is described in U.S. Patent No. 7,652,275, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. As disclosed therein, a mechanical contact probe or an optical probe may scan across the workpiece surface.

[0003] A CMM employing a mechanical contact probe is also described in U.S. Patent No. 6,971,183, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The probe disclosed therein includes a stylus having a surface contact portion, an axial motion mechanism, and a rotary motion mechanism. The axial motion mechanism includes a moving member that allows the contact portion to move in a central axis direction (also referred to as a Z direction or an axial direction) of the measuring probe. The rotary motion mechanism includes a rotating member that allows the contact portion to move perpendicular to the Z direction. The axial motion mechanism is nested inside the rotary motion mechanism. The contact portion location and/or workpiece surface coordinates are determined based on the displacement of the rotating member and the axial displacement of the axial motion moving member.

[0004] Inductive sensing technologies are known to be environmentally robust, and have various desirable sensing properties. It is known to use precision LVDT's or the like to measure displacements or positions of various internal elements in mechanical contact probes similar to those referred to above. However, LVDT's and other known inductive type sensors that are sufficiently accurate for use in CMM probes may be rather large or awkward to incorporate, and the associated motion mechanisms and/or displacement detector arrangements may be relatively expensive and/or susceptible to various "cross coupling" errors (e.g., due to the general configuration and/or mechanism and/or detector imperfections, etc.). US Patent No. 4,810,966, (the '966 patent) which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, discloses an inductive sensor configuration that is relatively planar and relatively economical, and which can detect the three-dimensional position of a nearby conductive target. However, the configurations disclosed in the '966 patent have several design deficiencies relative to providing the accuracy and/or form factors necessary for successful adaptation for use in a CMM scanning probe. In short, the configurations of the '966 patent lack the sophistication and features necessary for providing reasonable levels of accuracy in modern metrology instruments such as a CMM probe. Other issues associated with the use of known inductive sensing systems such as those outlined above in a CMM probe may include signal/response non-linearities that are inherent in the displacement response of the system, position errors resulting from less than perfect assembly and alignment, and signal drift due to environmental effects on mechanical and electrical components (e.g., due to temperature changes, etc.). A need exists for an improved inductive sensing configuration for use in a CMM probe (e.g., wherein the displacement detector configurations may be less susceptible to errors such as those noted above, and/or may be relatively less expensive, etc.).

BRIEF SUMMARY



[0005] This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

[0006] A scanning probe responsive in 3 axes is provided for use in a measuring machine (e.g., a CMM). The scanning probe includes a stylus suspension portion, a stylus position detection portion, and signal processing and control circuitry. The stylus suspension portion is attached to a frame of the scanning probe, and includes a stylus coupling portion that is configured to be rigidly coupled to a stylus, and a stylus motion mechanism that is configured to enable axial motion of the stylus coupling portion along an axial direction, and rotary motion of the stylus coupling portion about a rotation center. The stylus position detection portion is based on inductive sensing principles, and includes a receiver coil portion, a disruptor configuration, and field generating coil configuration.

[0007] The receiver coil portion may comprise a planar top coil substrate including N top rotary sensing coils (TRSC) and a top axial sensing coil configuration (TASCC), and a planar bottom coil substrate including N bottom rotary sensing coils (BRSC) and a bottom axial sensing coil configuration (BASCC), wherein N is an integer that is at least 3. The top and bottom coil substrates are mounted in a fixed relationship to the frame of the scanning probe with the bottom coil substrate closer to the stylus suspension portion. The top and bottom coil substrates may be nominally parallel to one another and nominally orthogonal to the central axis, and are spaced apart along the central axis with a disruptor motion volume located therebetween.

[0008] The disruptor configuration comprises a disruptor element that comprises a conductive plate or conductive loop that provides a disruptor area. The disruptor element is located along the central axis in the disruptor motion volume between the top and bottom coil substrates and is coupled to the stylus suspension portion by a coupling configuration. The disruptor element moves in the disruptor motion volume relative to an undeflected position in response to a deflection of the stylus suspension portion. The disruptor element may be described as moving over an operating motion range +/- Rz along the axial direction in response to the axial motion, and over respective operating motion ranges +/- Rx and +/- Ry along approximately orthogonal X and Y directions that are approximately orthogonal to the axial direction in response to the rotary motion.

[0009] The field generating coil configuration comprises at least a first field generating coil that is located proximate to the disruptor motion volume and that is nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis. The first field generating coil is configured such that a projection of a coil area of the first field generating coil along the axial direction encompasses the conductive plate or loop that provides the disruptor area and a coil area of all the rotary and axial sensing coils located on the top and bottom coil substrates. The field generating coil configuration is configured to generate a changing magnetic flux generally along the axial direction in the disruptor motion volume in response to a coil drive signal.

[0010] The signal processing and control circuitry is operably connected to the coils of the stylus position detection portion to provide the coil drive signal, and is configured to input signals from the receiver coil portion comprising respective signal components provided by the respective rotary and axial sensing coils located on the top and bottom coil substrates. It is further configured to output signals indicative of the axial position and the rotary position of at least one of the disruptor element or the stylus relative to the frame or housing of the scanning probe.

[0011] A particularly advantageous configuration for the stylus position detection portion is disclosed herein, wherein: 1) a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of the top axial sensing coil configuration defines a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA, a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of the bottom axial sensing coil configuration defines a bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA, a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of any respective top rotary sensing coil TRSCi defines a respective top rotary coil sensing overlap area TRSCOAi, and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of any respective bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi defines a respective bottom rotary coil sensing overlap area BRSCOAi, where i is an individual coil identification index in the range 1 to N; 2) the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are configured to provide a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA and bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA wherein an amount of each of the overlap areas TASOA and BASOA is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry; and 3) the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are configured to provide N complementary pairs of rotary sensing coils CPi that each comprise a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi, wherein for any complementary pair CPi for any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, the magnitude of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor displacement increment is nominally the same in that complementary pair.

[0012] Such a configuration, according to the principles disclosed herein, may provide signal components that are particularly advantageous with regard to eliminating or allowing correction of certain signal errors and/or signal cross coupling errors that have limited the accuracy of position determination in known economical three-dimensional position indicators based on inductive sensing.

[0013] In some implementations, the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are further configured wherein for any complementary pair CPi and any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, both the magnitude and sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor displacement increment are the same in that complementary pair. In some such implementations, the receiver coil portion is configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that the shape of their interior areas nominally coincide when projected along the axial direction. In other such implementations, the receiver coil portion is configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that the shape of their interior areas would nominally coincide if the shape of one of them is rotated about the central axis to coincide with an angular location of the other about the central axis, and then projected along the axial direction.

[0014] In various implementations, the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element may be configured wherein the disruptor element comprises at least N straight sides, and, for any respective complementary pair CPi, a respective one of the straight sides of the disruptor element transects both the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair. In some such implementations, N=3, and the at least N straight sides include 3 sides that are arranged parallel to the sides of an equilateral triangle shape. In other such implementations, N=4, and the at least N straight sides include 4 sides that are arranged parallel to the sides of a rectangular or square shape.

[0015] In some implementations, the top axial sensing coil configuration may comprise a combination of the N top rotary sensing coils, and the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas TRSCOAi associated with the N top rotary sensing coils, wherein that sum is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas TRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element. Similarly, the bottom axial sensing coil configuration may comprise a combination of the N bottom rotary sensing coils, and the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas BRSCOAi associated with the N bottom rotary sensing coils, wherein that sum is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas BRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element.

[0016] In some implementations, the top axial sensing coil configuration may comprise at least one top axial sensing coil that is not one of the N top rotary sensing coils and that is arranged closer to the central axis than the top rotary sensing coils, and the at least one top axial sensing coil and the disruptor element are characterized in that the at least one top axial sensing coil has an interior coil area that is smaller than the disruptor element and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction completely fills the interior coil area of the at least one top axial sensing coil for any position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, whereby the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA is unchanged by the position of the disruptor element. Similarly, the bottom axial sensing coil configuration may comprise at least one bottom axial sensing coil that is not one of the N bottom rotary sensing coils and that is arranged closer to the central axis than the bottom rotary sensing coils, and the at least one bottom axial sensing coil and the disruptor element are characterized in that the at least one bottom axial sensing coil has an interior coil area that is smaller than the disruptor element and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction completely fills the interior coil area of the at least one bottom axial sensing coil for any position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, whereby the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA is unchanged by the position of the disruptor element. In some such implementations, the at least one top axial sensing coil comprises a single top sensing coil that at least partially surrounds the central axis, and the at least one bottom axial sensing coil comprises a single bottom sensing coil that at least partially surrounds the central axis. In some implementations, the top and bottom axial sensing coils may be configured as follows (e.g., to provide axial position signal components that have certain desirable characteristics): The top and bottom axial sensing coils may define an axial sensing coil inscribed cylinder that is defined to be concentric with the central axis and to have a radius that is the maximum radius that may be inscribed within the edges of the top and bottom axial sensing coils. A disruptor inscribed cylinder may be defined to be concentric with the central axis and to have a radius that is the maximum radius that may be inscribed within the edges of the disruptor element. In various implementations it may be desirable (but not required) that the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder may be at least 1.1 times the radius of the axial sensing coil region inscribed cylinder. In some implementations, it may be desirable (but not required) that the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder may be at least 1.2 or at least 1.5 times the radius of the axial sensing coil region inscribed cylinder.

[0017] In some implementations, the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are further configured wherein for at least one complementary pair CPi and any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, the sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor displacement increment is the opposite in that complementary pair. Such implementations may have certain disadvantages in comparison to implementations wherein the sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor displacement increment is the same in that complementary pair. However, with appropriate signal processing, such implementations may still provide certain advantages for use in a scanning probe, in comparison to known inductive type sensing configurations. In some such implementations, the receiver coil portion may be configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that the shape of their interior areas would nominally coincide if the shape of one of them is rotated by an offset angle about the central axis to coincide with the angular location of the other about the central axis, and then projected along the axial direction. In some such implementations, the disruptor element may comprise at least N pairs of parallel straight sides, and, for any respective complementary pair CPi, a first one of a pair of parallel straight sides transects the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a second one of that pair of parallel straight sides transects the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair. In some such implementations, N=3, and N pairs of parallel straight sides are arranged parallel to the sides of a regular hexagon shape.

[0018] In various implementations, a moving member is coupled to the disruptor element and the stylus coupling portion, and the moving element generally extends along the central axis and through a hole located in the bottom coil substrate along the central axis.

[0019] In various implementations, the field generating coil configuration comprises one of a) a single planar field generating coil that is located approximately at a midplane of the disruptor motion volume and that is nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis, or b) a pair of planar field generating coils that are located approximately equidistant from a midplane of the disruptor motion volume along the central axis, and that are nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis.

[0020] Previously known inductive sensors utilizing nominally planar sensing elements have been far too inaccurate for application in precision scanning probe. In contrast, inductive sensors utilizing nominally planar sensing elements configured according to the various principles disclosed and claimed herein provide a robust set of signals and may be used to provide sufficient accuracy for application in precision scanning probes. In particular, implementations and/or configurations such as those outlined above may provide signal components that are particularly advantageous with regard to eliminating or allowing correction of certain signal errors and/or signal cross coupling errors that have previously limited the accuracy of position determination in known economical three-dimensional position indicators based on inductive sensing. In various implementations according to the various principles disclosed and claimed herein, the signal components that are provided by the various receiver coils are particularly advantageous in that they may be processed using relatively fast and simple signal processing in order to provide robust and highly accurate three-dimensional position indications.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0021] 

FIGURE 1 is a diagram showing various typical components of a measuring system including a CMM utilizing a scanning probe such as that disclosed herein;

FIGURE 2 is a block diagram showing various elements of a scanning probe as coupled to a CMM and providing rotary and axial position signals;

FIGURE 3 is a diagram showing portions of a first exemplary implementation of a stylus suspension portion as coupled to a stylus and a first exemplary implementation of a stylus position detection portion for detecting the position of the stylus suspension portion;

FIGURE 4 is a diagram showing a cross section of one implementation of the stylus suspension portion of FIGURE 3 as included within a main body frame of a scanning probe;

FIGURE 5 is a partially schematic isometric diagram of an alternative implementation of the stylus position detection portion shown in FIGURES 3 and 4, emphasizing certain aspects according to principles disclosed herein;

FIGURE 6 is a partially schematic isometric diagram of certain elements of the stylus position detection portion shown in FIGURE 5, including schematically represented connections to a block diagram of one exemplary implementation of processing and control circuitry according to principles disclosed herein;

FIGURES 7A-7E are diagrams representing respective "4 complementary pair" implementations of patterns of receiver coil portions and disruptor element configurations according to principles disclosed herein, usable in various implementations of the stylus position detection portions shown in FIGURES 3 and/or 4;

FIGURES 8A-8F are diagrams representing respective "3 (or 6) complementary pair" implementations or patterns of receiver coil portions and disruptor element configurations according to principles disclosed herein, usable in various implementations of the stylus position detection portions shown in FIGURES 3 and/or 4.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0022] FIGURE 1 is a diagram showing various typical components of a measuring system 100 including a CMM 200 utilizing a scanning probe 300 such as that disclosed herein. The measuring system 100 includes an operating unit 110, a motion controller 115 that controls movements of the CMM 200, a host computer 120 and the CMM 200. The operating unit 110 is coupled to the motion controller 115 and may include joysticks 111 for manually operating the CMM 200. The host computer 120 is coupled to the motion controller 115 and operates the CMM 200 and processes measurement data for a workpiece W. The host computer 120 includes input means 125 (e.g., a keyboard, etc.) for inputting, for example, measurement conditions, and output means 130 (e.g., a display, printer, etc.) for outputting, for example, measurement results.

[0023] The CMM 200 includes a drive mechanism 220 which is located on a surface plate 210, and an attachment portion 224 for attaching the scanning probe 300 to the drive mechanism 220. The drive mechanism 220 includes X axis, Y axis, and Z axis slide mechanisms 222, 221, and 223, respectively, for moving the scanning probe 300 three-dimensionally. A stylus 306 attached to the end of the scanning probe 300 includes a contact portion 348. As will be described in more detail below, the stylus 306 is attached to a stylus suspension portion of the scanning probe 300, which allows the contact portion 348 to freely change its position in three directions when the contact portion 348 moves along a measurement path on the surface of the workpiece W.

[0024] FIGURE 2 is a block diagram showing various elements of a scanning probe 300 as coupled to a CMM 200 and providing rotary (e.g., X, Y) and axial (e.g., Z) position signals. The scanning probe 300 includes a probe main body 302 (e.g., comprising a frame) which incorporates a stylus suspension portion 307 and a stylus position detection portion 311. The stylus suspension portion 307 includes a stylus coupling portion 342 and a stylus motion mechanism 309. The stylus coupling portion 342 is rigidly coupled to a stylus 306. The stylus motion mechanism 309 is configured to enable axial motion of the stylus coupling portion 342 and attached stylus 306 along an axial direction, and to enable rotary motion of the stylus coupling portion 342 and attached stylus 306 about a rotation center, as will be described in more detail below with respect to FIGURES 3 and 4. Signal processing and control circuitry 380 included in the scanning probe 300 is connected to and governs the operation of the stylus position detection portion 311, and may perform related signal processing, all as described in greater detail below.

[0025] As shown in FIGURE 2, the stylus position detection portion 311 uses inductive sensing principles and includes a receiver coil portion 370, a field generating coil configuration 360, and a disruptor element 351 (which may be part of a disruptor configuration 350, which may include a plurality of parts in some implementations). The receiver coil portion 370 may comprise a rotary sensing coil portion (also referred to as rotary sensing coils) RSC and an axial sensing coil configuration ASCC. Briefly, the moving disruptor element 351 (or more generally, the disruptor configuration 350) causes position-dependent variations in a changing magnetic field generated by the field generating coil configuration 360. The receiver coil portion 370 is responsive to the changing magnetic field and the variations therein caused by the disruptor element 351. In particular, the rotary sensing coil portion RSC outputs at least first and second rotary signal components RSigs that are indicative of the rotary position (e.g., X and Y position signals) of the stylus coupling portion 342 over corresponding signal lines, and the axial sensing coil configuration ASCC outputs one or more axial signal components ASigs that is indicative of the axial position (e.g., a Z position signal) of the stylus coupling portion 342 over corresponding signal lines, as described in greater detail below with reference to FIGURES 3, 5 and 6, for example. In various implementations, the signal processing and control circuitry 380 receives the rotary signal components RSigs and the axial signal components ASigs, and may perform various levels of related signal processing in various implementations. For example, in one implementation, the signal processing and control circuitry 380 may cause the signal components from various receiver coils to be combined and/or processed in various relationships, and provide the results in a desired output format as the rotary and axial position signal outputs RPSOut and APSOut, through the attachment portion 224. One or more receiving portions (e.g., in the CMM 200, motion controller 115, host computer 120, etc.) may receive the rotary and axial position signal outputs RPSOut and APSOut, and one or more associated processing and control portions may be utilized to determine a three-dimensional position of the stylus coupling portion 342 and/or of the contact portion of the attached stylus 306 as its contact portion 348 moves along a surface of a workpiece W that is being measured.

[0026] FIGURE 3 is partially schematic diagram showing portions of a first exemplary implementation of a schematically represented stylus suspension portion 407 as coupled to a stylus 406, along with a partially schematic cross-section of a first exemplary implementation of a stylus position detection portion 411 for detecting the position of the stylus suspension portion 407 and/or the stylus 406. It will be appreciated that certain numbered components 4XX of FIGURE 3 may correspond to and/or have similar operations as similarly numbered counterpart components 3XX of FIGURE 2, and may be understood by analogy thereto and as otherwise described below. This numbering scheme to indicate elements having analogous design and/or function is also applied to the following FIGURES 4-8F. As shown in FIGURE 3, the stylus suspension portion 407 includes a stylus motion mechanism 409 and a stylus coupling portion 442. The stylus coupling portion 442 is configured to be rigidly coupled to a stylus 406 which has a contact portion 448 for contacting a surface S of a workpiece W (not shown).

[0027] As will be described in more detail below with respect to FIGURE 4, the stylus motion mechanism 409 is attached to a frame of the scanning probe, and is configured to enable axial and rotary motion of the stylus coupling portion 442 and attached stylus 406 so that the contact portion 448 can change its position in three directions along the shape of the surface S. For purposes of illustration, the vertical and horizontal directions on the plane of paper in FIGURE 3 are defined as Z and Y directions, respectively, and the perpendicular direction to the plane of the paper is defined as the X direction. The direction of a central axis CA, also referred to as the axial direction, of the measuring probe 300 coincides with the Z direction in this illustration.

[0028] In FIGURE 3, rotary motion portions of the stylus motion mechanism 409 are represented, including a rotating member 436, a flexure element 440, and a moving member 412 disposed within the rotating member 436. As will be described in more detail below with respect to FIGURE 4, the flexure element 440 enables rotary motion of the rotating member 436 about a rotation center RC. As will be described in more detail below, in various implementations rotary sensing coils TRSCi and BRSCi (where i is an index integer which identifies specific coils) and stylus position detection portion 411 are able to sense the rotated position of the disruptor element 451 and thereby the rotated position of the moving member 412 (e.g., in X and Y directions), and the axial sensing coil configurations (also referred to as the axial sensing coils) TASCC and BASCC are able to sense the axial position of the disruptor element 451 and thereby the axial position of the moving member 412 (e.g., in the Z direction).

[0029] As shown in FIGURE 3, a first exemplary implementation of a stylus position detection portion 411 includes a disruptor element 451 (or more generally a disruptor configuration 450) that is coupled to the moving member 412 and which moves relative to the scanning probe frame (e.g., wherein the frame is included as part of the scanning probe body, etc.), within a disruptor motion volume MV located between the top and bottom coil substrates 471T and 471B, respectively. As shown in FIGURE 3, the moving member 412 extends through and moves in a hole 472 located along the central axis CA in a bottom coil substrate (471B). The attached disruptor element 451 moves in the disruptor motion volume MV relative to an undeflected position UNDF in response to a deflection of the stylus suspension portion 407 and the moving member 412.

[0030] Various other components of the stylus position detection portion 411, e.g., the receiver coil portion 470 and the field generating coil configuration 460, may be fixed relative to the frame unless otherwise indicated. In the implementation shown in FIGURE 3, the field generating coil configuration 460 comprises a single planar field generating coil 461 that is located approximately at a midplane of the disruptor motion volume MV and that is nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis CA. As previously outlined with reference to FIGURE 2, the receiver coil portion 470 may generally comprise a rotary sensing coil portion (also referred to as rotary sensing coils) RSC and an axial sensing coil configuration ASCC. The rotary position detection configuration RSC generally includes top rotary sensing coils TRSCi and bottom rotary sensing coils BRSCi. In the cross section shown in FIGURE 3, only two top rotary sensing coils TRSC1 and TRSC2, and two bottom rotary sensing coils BRSC1 and BRSC2, are shown. These rotary sensing coils may provide signal components indicative of the position of the disruptor element 451 along the Y direction. In particular, their signal components vary depending on an amount of displacement ΔY of the disruptor element 451 along the Y direction, and are therefore indicative of the amount of displacement ΔY. The displacement ΔY determines an associated amount of "overlap" between the disruptor element 451 and the various rotary sensing coils TRSCi and BRSCi, and thereby their amount of coupling to the changing magnetic field generated by the field generating coil 461 (which determines the resultant signal components). Other rotary sensing coils (not shown) may provide signal components which are indicative of the position of the disruptor element 451 along the X axis direction. The various rotary sensing coil signal components may also be undesirably sensitive to their local "operating gap" OG relative to the disruptor element 451, as represented in FIGURE 3 for the top rotary sensing coil TRSC2. However, such undesirable gap sensitivity may be substantially eliminated or compensated according to various principles disclosed herein, as described further below.

[0031] The axial sensing coil configuration ASCC generally includes a top axial sensing coil configuration TASCC and a bottom axial sensing coil configuration BASCC. In the implementation shown in FIGURE 3, the top axial sensing coil configuration TASCC comprises a single top axial sensing coil that at least partially surrounds the central axis CA, and the at least one bottom axial sensing coil comprises a single bottom axial sensing coil that at least partially surrounds the central axis, as shown. These axial sensing coils are always completely "overlapped" by the disruptor element 451. Therefore, their signal components are nominally only responsive to the position of the disruptor element 451 along the axial or Z direction, and are indicative of the position of the disruptor element 451 along the Z direction. The generation of various signal component is described in greater detail below with reference to FIGURES 5 and 6.

[0032] Similarly to operation previously outlined with reference to FIGURE 2, in operation the moving disruptor element 451 causes position-dependent local variations in a changing magnetic field along the axial direction generated by the field generating coil 461. The receiver coil portion 470 is responsive to the changing magnetic field and the variations therein caused by the disruptor element 451, and outputs the rotary signal components RSigs and the axial signal components ASigs that may be processed to determine the rotary position of the disruptor element 451 (e.g., a Y and X position, and corresponding signals) and its axial position (e.g., a Z position), as previously outlined with reference to FIGURE 2, and as described in detail further below. It will be appreciated that the position of the disruptor element 451 is related by a known geometry to the position of the stylus coupling portion 442 and/or its contact portion 448. For example, for small rotation angles, for the illustrated movement or displacement ΔY of the disruptor element 451 along the Y direction away from null (e.g., from the undeflected position UNDF):

where H is the distance from the rotation center RC to the nominal plane of the disruptor element 451, and θY is the rotary motion tilt of the rotating member 436 (and the moving member 412) in a plane parallel to the Y direction (i.e., that is, rotation about an axis parallel to the X axis at the rotation center RC). If a larger rotation angle is used in various implementations, an analogous expression that is accurate for larger rotation angles may be used, as is known in the art. The Y direction movement or displacement YSTYLUS away from null (e.g., corresponding to the undeflected position UNDF) of the contact portion 448 of the stylus 406 in relation to the rotary motion tilt component θY may be approximated as:

where hS is the distance from the end of the stylus coupling portion 442 to the rotation center RC, and lS is the length of the stylus 406. Combining EQUATIONS 1 and 2, the ratio of the displacement ΔY of the disruptor element 451 in relation to the Y direction displacement at the contact portion 448 may be approximated as:



[0033] It will be appreciated that the X coordinate motion components are analogous to the above expressions, and will not be explained in further detail herein. The stylus length lS for various styli may be utilized in the equations (e.g., with respect to the trigonometry of the system) for determining the X-Y position of the contact portion 448 based on the X-Y detected spot position. Regarding the Z coordinate displacement or position component, a displacement ΔZ (not shown) of the disruptor element 451 along the axial or Z direction away from null (e.g., corresponding to the undeflected position UNDF), in relation to the Z direction displacement ΔZSTYLUS at a stylus contact portion (e.g., the contact portion 448) may be approximated as:



[0034] FIGURE 4 is a partially schematic diagram showing a cross section of one implementation of a stylus suspension portion 407' usable as the stylus suspension portion 407 represented in FIGURE 3, as well as one implementation of a stylus position detection portion 511 that is similar to the stylus position detection portion 411 shown in FIGURE 3, and signal processing and control circuitry 480. The foregoing elements are shown as included within a frame 408 of a probe main body 402 of a scanning probe 400. The substrates 571T, 571B, and the field generating coil 561 or its substrate (e.g., printed circuit type substrates) of the stylus position detection portion 511 may be positioned for proper operation in the scanning probe 400 using alignment and mounting portions 417, or other known techniques. Various signal connections associated with the stylus position detection portion 511 may be provided by connectors (e.g., flex print and/or wire connections) 419, or the like, according to known techniques. In some implementations, some or all of the signal processing and control circuitry 480 may be provided as a separate circuit assembly as represented in FIGURE 4. In other implementations, some or all of the signal processing and control circuitry 480 may be combined on the substrates of the stylus position detection portion 511, if desired.

[0035] As shown in FIGURE 4, the stylus suspension portion 407' includes a stylus motion mechanism 409 and a stylus coupling portion 442 which is coupled to a stylus 406. The stylus motion mechanism 409 may include a moving member 412, a rotating member 436, a flexure element 440 coupled to the main body frame 408 for supporting and enabling rotary motion of the rotating member 436, and flexure elements 414 and 415 (i.e., referenced as first flexure elements) supporting the moving member 412 and coupling it to the rotating member 436 for enabling axial motion of the moving member 412. The scanning probe 400 includes the stylus position detection portion 511 having components and operation described in greater detail below with reference to FIGURE 5, for determining the position and/or motion of the stylus motion mechanism 409 and/or the contact portion 448 of the stylus 406.

[0036] The flexure element 440 (i.e., referenced as a second flexure element) may be disposed between the respective planes of a pair of flexure elements 414 and 415 (i.e., referenced as first flexure elements) in the axial direction O. Flexure designs suitable for the flexure elements 414, 415 and 440 may be determined according to principles known in the art. For example, one possible implementation is illustrated in copending and commonly assigned U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 14/973,376, entitled "Measurement Device With Multiplexed Position Signals", filed on December 17, 2015, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The rotating member 436 may have a shape symmetric about the second flexure element 440 and may integrally include: two ring portions 436A; two connecting portions 436B; and a cylindrical portion 436C. Peripheral portions of the first flexure elements 414 and 415 are fixed to the ring portions 436A. The connecting portions 436B extend inside of the ring portions 436A so as to connect to the cylindrical portion 436C, which has a hollow center. The first flexure elements 414 and 415 may be disposed at a symmetric distance with respect to the second flexure element 440, although such an implementation is exemplary only and not limiting.

[0037] An axial motion mechanism 410 including the moving member 412 is supported inside of the rotating member 436, and the rotating member 436 and the axial motion mechanism 410 together constitute a motion module that is part of the stylus motion mechanism 409. The axial motion mechanism 410 allows the contact portion 448 to move in the axial direction O. The rotary motion mechanism 434 including the rotating member 436 allows the contact portion 448 of the stylus 406 to move transverse (e.g., approximately perpendicular) to the axial direction O by means of rotary motion about the rotation center RC.

[0038] The moving member 412 integrally includes: a lower portion 412A; a rod portion 412B; and an upper portion 412C. As previously outlined with reference to FIGURE 3, and described in more detail below with respect to the stylus position detection portion 511 shown in FIGURE 5, the disruptor element 551 that is attached to the upper portion 412C of the moving member 412 functions as both a rotary and axial position indicating element. The rod portion 412B is disposed between the pair of first flexure elements 414 and 415. The rod portion 412B is housed in the rotating member 436. The lower portion 412A is formed below the rod portion 412B and a stylus coupling portion 442 (e.g., a flange member) is attached to the lower portion 412A. A flange part 444 is provided for attachment of the stylus 406. The flange part 444 and the stylus coupling portion 442 together may constitute a detachable coupling mechanism (e.g., a known type of kinematic joint or coupling) which allows attachment and detachment between various styli 406 and the stylus coupling portion 442 with repeatable positioning (e.g., in the case of a collision knocking off a stylus, or when intentionally changing styli).

[0039] FIGURE 5 is a partially schematic isometric diagram of an alternative implementation of a stylus position detection portion 511' that is similar to a stylus position detection portion 511 shown in FIGURE 4, emphasizing certain aspects according to principles disclosed herein. The stylus position detection portions 511' and 511 are similar except for a difference in the field generating coil configuration 560, as explained further below. In general, the stylus position detection portion 511' includes certain components that are similar to those of the stylus position detection portions 311, 411 and 511 of FIGURES 2,3 and 4, and will be understood to operate similarly except as otherwise described below.

[0040] In the implementation shown in FIGURE 5, the stylus position detection portion 511' comprises the receiver coil portion 570, the disruptor configuration 550 comprising the disruptor element 551, and the field generating coil configuration 560.

[0041] In various implementations, disruptor element 551 (or more generally the disruptor configuration 550) may comprise a conductive plate or conductive loop, or parallel conductive plates or conductive loops (e.g., as fabricated on two sides of a printed circuit substrate, patterned by printed circuit board fabrication techniques), or any other desired operational configuration that provides a disruptor area (e.g., its interior area). The disruptor element 551 is located along the central axis CA in the disruptor motion volume MV between the top and bottom coil substrates 571T and 571B and is coupled to the stylus suspension portion 507 by a coupling configuration (e.g., comprising the moving member 512). For purposes of explanation, we may describe the disruptor element 551 as moving relative to the undeflected position illustrated in FIGURE 5 (see the undeflected position UNDF, in FIGURE 3) in response to a deflection of the stylus suspension portion 507 and/or the stylus 506 and/or the moving member 512. The disruptor element may be described as moving with displacement increments ΔZ over an operating motion range +/- Rz along the axial direction in response to axial motion, and with displacement increments ΔX and ΔY over respective operating motion ranges +/- Rx and +/- Ry along orthogonal X and Y directions that are orthogonal to the axial direction (Z direction) in response to rotary motion. The specified or expected operating motion ranges are described in greater detail below.

[0042] The receiver coil portion 570 may comprise the planar top coil substrate 571T including N top rotary sensing coils TRSC (e.g., TRSC1-TRSC4, where N=4) and a top axial sensing coil configuration TASCC (e.g., comprising the single illustrated individual coil in this implementation), and a planar bottom coil substrate 571B including N bottom rotary sensing coils BRSC (e.g., BRSC1-BRSC4, where N=4) and a bottom axial sensing coil configuration BASCC (e.g., comprising the single illustrated individual coil in this implementation). The top and bottom coil substrates 571T and 571B are mounted in a fixed relationship to the frame of the scanning probe with the bottom coil substrate closer to the stylus 506 and/or the stylus suspension portion 507. The top and bottom coil substrates 571T and 571B may be nominally parallel to one another and nominally orthogonal to the central axis CA, and are spaced apart along the central axis CA with the disruptor motion volume MV located therebetween. It should be appreciated that although the various sensing coils shown in FIGURE 5 are represented by "closed loops" for simplicity of illustration, all coils comprise windings or conductors that have first and second connection ends (e.g., as representing in FIGURE 6) that are configured to operate as one or more inductively coupled "turns".

[0043] The field generating coil configuration (e.g., the field generating coil configuration 560) generally comprises at least a first field generating coil that is located proximate to the disruptor motion volume MV and that is nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis CA. In contrast to the single planar field generating coil 461 in the implementation shown in FIGURE 3 (which is located approximately at a midplane of the disruptor motion volume MV), in the implementation shown in FIGURE 5, the field generating coil configuration 560 comprise a pair of planar field generating coils 561T and 561B (located on the top and bottom coil substrates 571T and 571B, respectively) that are approximately equidistant from a midplane of the disruptor motion volume MV along the central axis CA, and that are nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis CA. Generally speaking, either of the field generating coil configurations 460 or 560 may be used with the receiver coil portion 570 (or other receiver coil portions disclosed herein) provided that the field generating coil configuration comprises at least a first field generating coil that is configured such that a projection of its coil area along the axial direction (Z direction) encompasses the conductive plate or loop that provides the disruptor area of the disruptor configuration 560 (e.g., of the disruptor element 551) and a coil area of all the rotary and axial sensing coils RSCi and ASCC located on the top and bottom coil substrates 571T and 571B. In such a case, the field generating coil configuration is configured to generate a changing magnetic flux generally along the axial direction in the disruptor motion volume MV in response to a coil drive signal, as desired for operation of the stylus position detection portion 511'. It should be appreciated that, although the various field generating coils shown in FIGURE 5 are represented by a single "closed loop" comprising a wide flat conductive trace (the edges of which are shown) for simplicity of illustration, in an actual device all coils comprise windings or conductors that have first and second connection ends (e.g., as represented in FIGURE 6), and are configured to operate as one or more field generating "turns".

[0044] As illustrated in FIGURE 5, a projection of the disruptor element 551 along the axial direction (e.g., as shown by fine dashed lines PRJ in FIGURE 5) through an interior coil area of the top axial sensing coil configuration TASCC defines a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA (indicated by a dot pattern filling that interior coil area), and a projection of the disruptor element 551 along the axial direction through an interior coil area of the bottom axial sensing coil configuration BASCC defines a bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA (indicated by a dot pattern filling that interior coil area). Similarly, a projection of the disruptor element 551 along the axial direction through an interior coil area of any respective top rotary sensing coil TRSCi (e.g., TRSC1-TRSC4) defines a respective top rotary coil sensing overlap area TRSCOAi (e.g., TRSCOA1-TRSCOA4), as indicated by a dot pattern filling the various respective overlap areas shown in FIGURE 5, where i is an individual coil identification index in the range 1 to N. A projection of the disruptor element 551 along the axial direction through an interior coil area of any respective bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi (e.g., BRSC1-BRSC4) defines a respective bottom rotary coil sensing overlap area BRSCOAi (e.g., TRSCOA1-TRSCOA4), as indicated by a dot pattern filling the various respective overlap areas shown in FIGURE 5.

[0045] Regarding axial position detection in a stylus position detection portion (e.g., 511'), according to principles described and claimed herein, the receiver coil portion (e.g., 570) and the disruptor element (e.g., 551) are generally configured to provide a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA and bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA wherein an amount of each of the overlap areas TASOA and BASOA is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element 551 within operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry. (It will be appreciated that, for a particular scanning probe, the operating motion ranges may be prescribed or specified in combination with the configuration of the probe's particular stylus position detection portion, if needed, in order to fulfill this requirement.) In this way, the signal components generated in the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC are nominally independent of the rotary motion (that is the position of the disruptor element 551 along the X and Y directions), and are nominally sensitive only to variations in "proximity" or gap to the disruptor element 551, which varies depending on the axial (Z) position or displacement ΔZ of the disruptor element 551. In operation, currents induced in the disruptor element 551 by the changing magnetic field of the field generating configuration 560 cause opposing magnetic fields. Generally speaking, as the disruptor element 551 moves upward along the axial (Z) direction in FIGURE 5, the opposing magnetic fields couple more strongly to the top axial sensing coil configurations TASCC, reducing its signal component that arises from the changing magnetic field. Conversely, the opposing magnetic fields couple more weakly to the bottom axial sensing coil configurations BASCC, increasing its signal component that arises from the changing magnetic field. By a convention used in this disclosure, we may refer to a signal component SIGTASCC as the signal component arising from a particular top axial sensing coil configuration (or coil) TASCC, and so on.

[0046] It will be appreciated that at the undeflected position UNDF, the net signal components SIGTASCC and SIGBASCC may be approximately balanced. For small displacements ΔZ, such as those expected in operation, the net signal components SIGTASCC and SIGBASCC may vary approximately linearly, and inversely compared to one another. Certain considerations related to degree of nonlinearity of such signals are discussed further below. In one implementation, an axial displacement or position ΔZ may be indicated by, or correspond to, the signal relationship:



[0047] This signal relationship is exemplary only, and not limiting. In various implementations, this signal relationship may be adjusted or compensated by additional calibration or signal processing operations, including operations that reduce the effects of geometric and/or signal cross-coupling between various displacement directions or signal components, if desired. In various implementations, the top axial sensing coil configuration may comprise at least one top axial sensing coil that is not one of the N top rotary sensing coils and that is arranged closer to the central axis than the top rotary sensing coils, and the at least one top axial sensing coil and the disruptor element are characterized in that the at least one top axial sensing coil has an interior coil area that is smaller than the disruptor element, and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction completely fills the interior coil area of the at least one top axial sensing coil for any position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, whereby the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA is unchanged by the position of the disruptor element. Similarly, in various such implementations, the bottom axial sensing coil configuration may comprise at least one bottom axial sensing coil that is not one of the N bottom rotary sensing coils and that is arranged closer to the central axis than the bottom rotary sensing coils, and the at least one bottom axial sensing coil and the disruptor element are characterized in that the at least one bottom axial sensing coil has an interior coil area that is smaller than the disruptor element and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction completely fills the interior coil area of the at least one bottom axial sensing coil for any position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, whereby the bottom axial sensing overlap area TASOA is unchanged by the position of the disruptor element. It may be seen that the particular implementation of the stylus position detection portion 511' shown in FIGURE 5, wherein the top axial sensing coil configuration TASCC and the bottom axial sensing coil configuration BASCC each comprise a single sensing coil, conforms to this description. It will be appreciated that various configurations of the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC may be used, and the particular configurations shown in FIGURE 5 are exemplary only and not limiting. Various alternative configurations are described with reference to other figures below.

[0048] Regarding rotary position detection in a stylus position detection portion (e.g., 511'), according to principles described and claimed herein, the receiver coil portion (e.g., 570) and the disruptor element (e.g., 551) are generally configured to provide N complementary pairs of rotary sensing coils CPi (e.g., CP1-CP4, where N=4) that each comprise a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi, wherein for any complementary pair CPi, and for any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, the magnitude of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with that disruptor displacement increment is nominally the same in that complementary pair. (It will be appreciated that for a particular scanning probe the operating motion ranges may be prescribed or specified in combination with the configuration of its particular stylus position detection portion, if needed in order to fulfill this requirement.) The table CPTable in FIGURE 5 indicates the respective members TRSCi and BRSCi of each respective complementary pair CPi for the implementation shown in FIGURE 5.

[0049] By conforming to the foregoing principle, the complementary pairs CPi shown in FIGURE 5 may be used to compensate or eliminate certain cross-coupling errors, and/or to simplify the signal processing required to provide precise rotary position or displacement measurements (e.g., along the X and/or Y directions). In particular, pairs of signal components arising in complementary pairs CPi of rotary sensing coils in the implementation shown in FIGURE 5 may be combined or processed in a relationship that provides a resulting signal that is nominally insensitive to variations in "proximity" or gap between the individual coils of the complementary pair and the disruptor element 551. That is, the resulting signal may be insensitive to the axial (Z) position or displacement ΔZ of the disruptor element 551, and nominally only sensitive to a rotary position or displacement (e.g., along the X and/or Y directions), as described in greater detail below. For the particular implementation shown in FIGURE 5, it may be understood that a displacement of the disruptor element 551 that has a displacement component ΔY along the Y axis direction will increase (or decrease) the overlap areas TRSCOA2 and BRSCOA2 in the complementary pair CP2 and decrease (or increase) the overlap areas TRSCOA1 and BRSCOA1 in the complementary pair CP1. Similarly, a displacement of the disruptor element 551 that has a displacement component ΔX along the X axis direction will increase (or decrease) the overlap areas TRSCOA3 and BRSCOA3 in the complementary pair CP3 and decrease (or increase) the overlap areas TRSCOA4 and BRSCOA4 in the complementary pair CP4.

[0050] As previous outlined, in operation, currents induced in the disruptor element 551 by the changing magnetic field of the field generating configuration 560 cause opposing magnetic fields. Generally speaking, the signal component SIGTRSCi (or SIGBRSCi) generated in any rotary sensing coil TRSCi (or BRSCi), will be reduced as a proximate portion of the disruptor element 551 comes closer to that rotary sensing coil along the axial direction, or increases its overlap TRSCOAi (or BRSCOAi) with the rotary sensing coil.

[0051] It will be appreciated that for the complementary pairs CP1-CP4 indicated in FIGURE 5 (wherein the coils in a complementary pairs CPi may be identical and aligned along the axial direction), at the illustrated undeflected position UNDF, the signal components in each complementary pair (e.g., SIGTRSC1 and SIGBRSC1) may be approximately balanced. According to previously outlined principles, for a portion of the disruptor element 551 proximate to a complementary pair (e.g., CP1), for small displacements ΔZ such as those expected in operation, the net signal components (e.g., SIGTRSC1 and SIGBRSC1) may vary approximately linearly, and inversely compared to one another. Thus, the sum of such signals for a complementary pair CPi may be nominally insensitive to a ΔZ associated with the proximate portion of the disruptor element 551. Furthermore, in the implementation shown in FIGURE 5, the edges of the disruptor element 551 may be parallel to the X and Y directions, such that, within the operating motion ranges +/- Rx and +/- Ry, a Y direction displacement component does not alter the rotary coil sensing overlap areas TRSCOA3, BRSCOA3, and/or TRSCOA4 and BRSCOA4, and an X direction displacement component does not alter the rotary coil sensing overlap areas TRSCOA2, BRSCOA2, and/or TRSCOA1 and BRSCOA1. Therefore, in one implementation, a rotary displacement or position component ΔX along the X direction may be indicated by or correspond to the following signal relationship, ideally regardless of ΔZ and/or ΔY:



[0052] Similarly, in one implementation, a rotary displacement or position component ΔY along the Y direction may be indicated by or correspond to the following signal relationship, ideally regardless of ΔZ and/or ΔX:



[0053] These signal relationships are exemplary only, and not limiting. In various implementations, these signal relationships may be adjusted or compensated by additional calibration or signal processing operations, including operations that reduce the effects of geometric and/or signal cross-coupling between various displacement directions or signal components, if desired.

[0054] In some particularly advantageous implementations, the receiver coil portion (e.g., 570) and the disruptor element (e.g., 551) are configured wherein, for any complementary pair CPi and any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, both the magnitude and sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with that disruptor displacement increment are the same in that complementary pair. In some such implementations, the receiver coil portion is configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that the shape of their interior areas nominally coincide when projected along the axial direction. It may be seen that the particular implementation of the stylus position detection portion 511' shown in FIGURE 5 conforms to this description. However, it will be appreciated that various configurations of complementary pairs may be used, and the particular configurations shown in FIGURE 5 are exemplary only and not limiting. Various alternative configurations are described with reference to other figures below.

[0055] In some particularly advantageous implementations, the receiver coil portion (e.g., 570) and the disruptor element (e.g., 551) may be configured wherein the disruptor element comprises at least N straight sides, and, for any respective complementary pair CPi, a respective one of the straight sides of the disruptor element transects both the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair. In some such implementations, N=4, and the at least N straight sides include 4 sides that are arranged parallel to the sides of a rectangular or square shape. It may be seen that the particular implementation of the stylus position detection portion 511' shown in FIGURE 5 conforms to this description. However, it will be appreciated that various combinations of complementary pairs configurations and disruptor element edge configurations may be used, and the combination of the particular configurations shown in FIGURE 5 is exemplary only and not limiting. Various alternative combinations of configurations are described with reference to other figures below.

[0056] FIGURE 6 is a partially schematic isometric diagram of certain elements of the stylus position detection portion 511' shown in FIGURE 5, including schematically represented connections CONN to a block diagram of one exemplary implementation of signal processing and control circuitry 680 according to principles disclosed herein. As shown in FIGURE 6, the signal processing and control circuitry 680 is operably connected to the various coils of the stylus position detection portion 511'. In the implementation shown in FIGURE 6, the signal processing and control circuitry 680 comprises a digital controller/processor 681, that may govern various timing and signal connection or exchange operations between its various interconnected components, which include a drive signal generator 682, an amplification/switching portion 683, a sample and hold portion 684, a multiplexing portion 685, and an A/D convertor portion 686. The digital controller/processor 681 may also perform various digital signal processing operations to determine the output signals APSOut and RPSOut, as previously outlined with reference to FIGURE 2, and described further below. The design and operation of the signal processing and control circuitry 680 may generally be recognized and understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, according to known principles. For example, in one implementation, the various elements of the signal processing and control circuitry 680 may be designed and operated by analogy to corresponding elements disclosed in US Patent No. 5,841,274, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Therefore, the operation of the illustrated signal processing and control circuitry 680 will be described only briefly here.

[0057] In operation, the drive signal generator 682 is operated to provide a changing coil drive signal Dsig (e.g., a pulse) to the field generating coil configuration 560, which generates a changing magnetic flux generally along the axial direction in the disruptor motion volume MV in response to the coil drive signal. In the illustrated configuration, the top field generating coil 561T and the bottom field generating coil 561B are configured to provide changing magnetic fluxes that reinforce one another. The amplification/switching portion 683 is configured to input the signals RSIGs and ASIGs from the receiver coil portion 570, comprising respective signal components provided by the respective rotary and axial sensing coils located on the top and bottom coil substrates (e.g., the previously outlined signal components SIGTASCC, SIGBASCC, SIGTRSC1-SIGTRSC4, and SIGBRSC1-SIGBRSC4). In some implementations, the amplification/switching portion 683 may include switching circuits which may combine various analog signals to provide various desired sum or difference signals (e.g., by appropriate serial or parallel connections, or the like), for example as prescribed in the relationships shown in EQUATIONS 5-7, or the like. However, in other implementations, the amplification/switching portion 683 may perform only amplification and signal conditioning operations (and possibly signal inversion operations), with all signal combination operations performed in other circuit portions.

[0058] The sample and hold portion 684 inputs the various analog signals from the amplification/switching portion 683, and performs sample and hold operations according to known principles, e.g., to simultaneously sample and hold all respective signal components that arise from the various respective sensing coils of the receiver coil portion 570. In one implementation, the multiplexing portion 685 may connect various signals to the A/D convertor portion 686 sequentially, and/or in combinations related to various desired signal relationships (for example, as prescribed in the relationships shown in EQUATIONS 5-7, or the like). The A/D convertor portion 686 outputs corresponding digital signal values to the digital controller/processor 681. The digital controller/processor 681 may then process and/or combine the digital signal values according to various desired relationships (for example, as prescribed in the relationships shown in EQUATIONS 5-7, or the like), to determine and output the output signals APSOut and RPSOut, which are indicative of the axial position and the rotary position of at least one of the disruptor element 551 or the stylus 506 relative to the frame or housing of the scanning probe. In some implementations the digital controller/processor 681 may be configured such that the output signals APSOut and RPSOut directly indicate the three-dimensional position of the stylus 506 or its contact portion 548 relative to the frame of the scanning probe. In other implementations, it may be configured to output signals that indirectly indicate the three-dimensional position of the stylus 506 or its contact portion 548 relative to the frame of the scanning probe, and a host system (e.g., a CMM) inputs such signals and performs additional processing to further combine or refine such signals and determine the three-dimensional position of the stylus 506 or its contact portion 548 relative to the scanning probe and/or relative to a an overall coordinate system used for CMM measurements.

[0059] It should be appreciated that for implementations of a stylus position detection portion (e.g., 511') according to the various principles disclosed and claimed herein, the signal components that are provided by the various receiver coils of the receiver coil portion (e.g., 570) are particularly advantageous with regard to eliminating or allowing correction of certain signal errors and/or signal cross coupling errors, while using relatively fast and simple signal processing in order to provide robust and highly accurate three-dimensional position indications.

[0060] Regarding the use of relatively fast and simple signal processing in order to provide robust and highly accurate three-dimensional position indications, one consideration is the linearity of the position or displacement signal components (or the linearity of certain combined signals, such as the Z signal relationship expressed in EQUATION 5). It should be understood that signals or signal relationships that vary with displacement according to significant 3rd order and/or 5th order signal variation contributions generally require more complex signal processing and/or compensation and/or calibration in order to provide precise displacement or position indications. The inventors have found that certain desirable configurations may tend to suppress higher order signal variation contributions in the axial sensing coil signal components ASigs, and/or combinations thereof. As one way of describing these desirable configurations, the sensing coils of the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC may be considered as defining an "axial sensing coil region inscribed cylinder" that is defined to be concentric with the central axis CA and to have a radius that is the minimum necessary such that the top and bottom axial sensing coils (e.g., the sensing coils of the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC shown in FIGURE 5) fit within it. A "disruptor inscribed cylinder" may be defined to be concentric with the central axis CA and to have a radius that is the maximum radius that may be inscribed within the edges of the disruptor element (e.g., the disruptor element 551, or the like). In various implementations it may be desirable (but not required) that the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder may be at least 1.1 times the radius of the axial sensing coil region inscribed cylinder. In some implementations, it may be desirable (but not required) that the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder may be at least 1.2 or at least 1.5 times the radius of the axial sensing coil region inscribed cylinder.

[0061] FIGURES 7A-7E show "plan view" diagrams (looking along the axial or Z direction) representing respective "4 complementary pair" implementations of stylus position detection portion components comprising receiver coil portions 770A-770E and disruptor elements 751A-751E, respectively, according to principles disclosed herein. The illustrated components are usable in various implementations of a stylus position detection portion according to principles disclosed herein. Field generating coils are not shown in FIGURES 7A-7E, but they will be understood to be provided according to previously disclosed principles. The various components shown in FIGURES 7A-7E are similar or analogous to similarly numbered components in the previously described stylus position detection portions 311, 411, 511 and/or 511', and may generally be understood by analogy thereto. Therefore, only certain unique or important characteristics of the "4 complementary pair" implementations included in FIGURES 7A-7E are described below.

[0062] FIGURE 7A shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 770A and a disruptor element 751A similar to those previously described with reference to the stylus position detection portion 511', and will be understood by analogy thereto. In addition to showing the circular top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC similar to those previously described with reference to the stylus position detection portion 511', FIGURE 7A also shows alternative square top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC' and BASCC', shown in dashed outline. More generally, it will be understood that any desired shape may be used for the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations provided that they are configured to provide desirable operation according to the various principles disclosed and/or claimed herein.

[0063] It may be noted that the shape of the disruptor element 751A includes "trimmed corners", for compactness. It should be appreciated that in order to fulfill principles previously disclosed herein, wherein the magnitude of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with a disruptor displacement increment is nominally the same in any of the illustrated complementary pairs, the operating motion ranges +/- Rx and +/- Ry along orthogonal X and Y directions may be prescribed or specified to not extend past the straight edge sections that transect each complementary pair, in order to fulfill this principle.

[0064] FIGURE 7B shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 770B and a disruptor element 751B similar to those previously described with reference to FIGURE 7A, except that the complementary pairs CP1-CP4 in the receiver coil portion 770B comprise larger rotary sensing coils that overlap the sensing coils of the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC, which is not prohibited according to the various principles disclosed herein. In order to fabricate such a configuration, the rotary and axial sensing coils may be fabricated on respective layers of a multi-layer printed circuit board, for example.

[0065] FIGURE 7C shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 770C and a disruptor element 751C similar to those previously described with reference to FIGURE 7B, except that the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC are not provided by axial sensing coils that are separate from the various rotary sensing coils TRSCi and BRSCi. Instead, it will be understood that the top axial sensing coil configuration TASCC comprises a combination of the N (N=4) top rotary sensing coils TRSC1-TRSC4, wherein the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas TRSCOAi associated with the N top rotary sensing coils. It may be observed that due to the similar shapes of the N top rotary sensing coils TRSC1-TRSC4, and the two pairs of parallel sides of the disruptor element that overlap them, any overlap area that is lost in the overlap area TRSCOA1 due to a displacement increment of the disruptor element 751C is gained in the overlap area TRSCOA2, and vice versa. Similarly, any overlap area that is lost in the overlap area TRSCOA3 is gained in the overlap area TRSCOA4, and vice versa. Thus, the sum of the overlap areas TRSCOAi is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element 751C within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas TRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element 751C. Similarly, the bottom axial sensing coil configuration BASCC comprises a combination of the N (N=4) bottom rotary sensing coils BRSC1-BRSC4, wherein the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas BRSCOAi associated with the N bottom rotary sensing coils. This sum of the overlap areas BRSCOAi is also unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element 751C within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas BRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element 751C. Thus, despite its differences from previously described configurations, the implementation shown in FIGURE 7C provides a configuration according to a general principle disclosed herein, wherein the receiver coil portion 770C and the disruptor element 751C are configured to provide a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA and bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA wherein an amount of each of the overlap areas TASOA and BASOA is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry.

[0066] FIGURE 7D shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 770D and a disruptor element 751D which function in a manner analogous to that previously described with reference to FIGURE 7C, wherein the axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC are not provided by axial sensing coils that are separate from the various rotary sensing coils TRSCi and BRSCi. Instead, it will be understood that the top and bottom axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC comprise respective combinations of the N (N=4) top and bottom rotary sensing coils TRSC1-TRSC4 and BRSC1-BRSC4, wherein the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas TRSCOAi associated with the N top rotary sensing coils and the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas BRSCOAi associated with the N bottom rotary sensing coils. Similarly to the configuration shown in FIGURE 7C, the sum of the overlap areas TRSCOAi is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element 751D within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas TRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element 751D, and the sum of the overlap areas BRSCOAi is also unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element 751D within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas BRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element 751D. Thus, despite its differences from previously described configurations, the implementation shown in FIGURE 7D provides a configuration according to a general principle disclosed herein, wherein the receiver coil portion 770D and the disruptor element 751D are configured to provide a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA and bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA wherein an amount of each of the overlap areas TASOA and BASOA is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry. Due to the illustrated shape of the disruptor element 751D, it should be appreciated that in order to fulfill principles previously disclosed herein, wherein the magnitude of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with a disruptor displacement increment is nominally the same in any of the illustrated complementary pairs, the operating motion ranges +/- Rx and +/- Ry along orthogonal X and Y directions may be prescribed or specified such that none of the corners of the disruptor element 751D move from their illustrated positions to an extent such that they cross any boundary of a sensing coil of any complementary pair CP1-CP4.

[0067] FIGURE 7E shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 770E and a disruptor element 751E similar to those previously described with reference to FIGURE 7A (or the stylus position detection portion 511'), except that the top and bottom rotary sensing coils of each complementary pair CPi are rotated about the central axis by an angle 2*NAA relative to one another, where NAA is a "non-alignment angle". However, this implementation becomes increasingly disadvantageous in comparison to the previously outlined configurations (wherein the top and bottom rotary sensing coils of each complementary pair CPi are aligned along the axial direction), as the non-alignment angle NAA increases. The reason it becomes increasingly disadvantageous is that sum of the operating gaps (e.g., the operating gap OG, illustrated in FIGURE 3) between the disruptor element 751E and the top and bottom rotary sensing coils of each complementary pair CPi is not necessarily constant for all displacements of the disruptor element 751E, since their overlap areas with the disruptor element 751E are not "co-located". Thus, the sum of their signals may not be ideally independent of the axial displacement ΔZ, as previously outlined with reference to EQUATION 6. The configuration shown in FIGURE 7E and outlined above is nevertheless not prohibited according to the various principles disclosed herein. It should be appreciated that such a configuration may still fulfill the most basic principles disclosed and claimed herein, and provide signal components that at least partially retain the various advantages outlined above in comparison to previously known inductive sensor configurations. As one way of describing the configuration shown in FIGURE 7E, the receiver coil portion 770E is configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that the shape of their interior areas would nominally coincide if the shape of one of them is rotated about the central axis to coincide with an angular location of the other about the central axis (e.g., by an angle 2*NAA), and then projected along the axial direction. In various implementations, the receiver coil portion 770E and the disruptor element 751E may be configured wherein the disruptor element 751E comprises at least N straight sides (e.g., N=4), and, for any respective complementary pair CPi (e.g., CP1-CP4), a respective one of the straight sides of the disruptor element 751E transects both the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair CPi. In such implementations where N=4, the at least N straight sides of the disruptor element 751E include 4 sides that are arranged parallel to the sides of a rectangular or square shape.

[0068] FIGURES 8A-8F show "plan view" diagrams (looking along the axial or Z direction) representing respective "3 (or 6) complementary pair" implementations of stylus position detection portion components comprising receiver coil portions 870A-870F and disruptor elements 851A-851F, respectively, according to principles disclosed herein. The illustrated components are usable in various implementations of a stylus position detection portion according to principles disclosed herein. Field generating coils are not shown in FIGURES 8A-8F, but they will be understood to be provided according to previously disclosed principles. Various elements shown in "3 (or 6) complementary pair" configurations shown in several of the FIGURES 8A-8F are similar or analogous to corresponding elements shown in corresponding "4 complementary pair" configurations previously described with reference to FIGURES 7A-7E, and they may generally be understood by analogy thereto. Therefore, only certain unique or important characteristics of the "3 complementary pair" implementations included in FIGURES 8A-8F are described below.

[0069] FIGURES 8A-8C are "3 complementary pair" analogs of their counterpart "4 complementary pair" configurations shown in the corresponding FIGURES 7A-7C. They may generally be understood by analogy with the description of their counterpart configurations (e.g., FIGURE 8A to its counterpart FIGURE 7A, and so on), based on the following additional description.

[0070] The use of 3 complementary pairs oriented at 120 degrees from one another, in contrast with the previously described 4 complementary pairs oriented at 90 degrees from one another (e.g., as shown in FIGURE 7A), may be appreciated by considering that any displacement increment or position of a disruptor element (e.g., 851A) is just as easily characterized by displacement or position vector components or coordinates oriented along the respective vector component directions VC1, VC2, and VC3 shown in FIGURES 8A-8F as it is by displacement or position vector components or coordinates oriented along the X and Y axis directions shown in various figures herein. Methods of converting vector components from one coordinate system to another are well known, and need not be discussed in detail here. Based on this, it may be understood that the complementary pairs CPi shown in FIGURES 8A-8C are configured according to the same principles outlined in the previous description of complementary pairs, and their respective overlap areas are indicative of the displacement or position of the disruptor element along their corresponding vector component directions VC1, VC2, and VC3. For example, the representative overlap areas TRSCOA1 and BRSCOA1 indicated in FIGURE 8A result in associated signal components SIGTRSC1 and SIGBRSC1 according to previously outlined principles, which are indicative of the displacement or position of the disruptor element along the corresponding vector component direction VC1, and so on. For the implementations shown in FIGURES 8A-8C and 8E, in one implementation, a rotary displacement or position component ΔVC1 along the VC1 direction may be indicated by or correspond to the following signal relationship, which is nominally independent of ΔZ according to previously outlined principles for comparable complementary pairs:

where SIGTRSC1UNDF and SIGBRSC1UNDF are reference signal values resulting from the overlap areas overlap areas TRSCOA1 and BRSCOA1 corresponding to the undeflected position UNDF of the disruptor element (e.g., 851A, etc.).

[0071] Similarly, rotary displacement or position components ΔVC2 along the VC2 direction, and ΔVC3 along the VC3 direction, may be indicated by or correspond to the following signal relationships:





[0072] It will appreciated that the axial sensing coil configurations TASCC and BASCC shown in FIGURES 8A-8C are substantially the same as those previously describe herein with reference to their counterpart configurations, and may be determined according to the same type of signal components and signal relationship. The signal relationships outlined above are exemplary only, and not limiting. In various implementations, these signal relationships may be adjusted or compensated by additional calibration or signal processing operations, including operations that reduce the effects of geometric and/or signal cross-coupling between various displacement directions or signal components, if desired.

[0073] FIGURE 8D shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 870D and a disruptor element 851D similar to those previously described with reference to FIGURE 8A, except that additional complementary pairs CP4-CP6 are provided that are symmetrically configured across the central axis from the complementary pairs CP1-CP3, to provide a total of 6 complementary pairs. In particular, CP1 and CP4 are oriented opposite one another along the VC1 direction, CP2 and CP5 are oriented opposite one another along the VC2 direction, and CP3 and CP6 are oriented opposite one another along the VC3 direction. These opposing pairs are analogous to the opposing complementary pairs shown oriented along the X and Y axis directions in FIGURES 7A-7D. Such a configuration need not depend on the reference signal values (e.g., SIGTRSC1UNDF, and so on) used in EQUATIONS 8-10. Therefore, such a configuration may be more robust and accurate (e.g., inherently compensating for signal drift due to various causes, and the like). For the implementation shown in FIGURE 8D, in one implementation, a rotary displacement or position component ΔVC1 along the VC1 direction may be indicated by or correspond to the following signal relationships, which are nominally independent of ΔZ according to previously outlined principles for comparable complementary pairs:







[0074] It will be appreciated that the "3 complementary pair" implementations shown in FIGURES 8B and 8C could be similarly adapted to include 6 complementary pairs, and use analogous signal processing with analogous benefits.

[0075] FIGURE 8E shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 870E and a disruptor element 851E analogous to those previously described with reference to FIGURE 7E, and may generally be understood by analogy to that description, in conjunction with the foregoing description of FIGURES 8A-8C. To briefly paraphrase that description, in FIGURE 8E the top and bottom rotary sensing coils of each complementary pair CPi are rotated about the central axis by an angle 2*NAA relative to one another, where NAA is a "non-alignment angle". This implementation becomes increasingly disadvantageous in comparison to previously outlined configurations (wherein the top and bottom rotary sensing coils of each complementary pair CPi are aligned along the axial direction), as the non-alignment angle NAA increases, as previously described with reference to FIGURE 7E, where it was explained that the sum of the signals from a complementary pair may not be ideally independent of the axial displacement ΔZ as previously outlined with reference to EQUATION 6. The configuration shown in FIGURE 8E is nevertheless not prohibited according to the various principles disclosed herein. It should be appreciated that such a configuration may still fulfill the most basic principles disclosed and claimed herein, and provide signal components that at least partially retain the various advantages outlined above in comparison to previously known inductive sensor configurations.

[0076] FIGURE 8F shows an implementation of a receiver coil portion 870F and a disruptor element 851F wherein the complementary pairs of sensing coils CPi have a different configuration sensing coils than those of previously described complementary pairs (e.g., as shown in FIGURE 8A), in that they are located symmetrical across the central axis relative to one another. Thus, they may be characterized as similar to previously described complementary pairs in that the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are further configured wherein, for any complementary pair CPi and any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, the magnitude of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor displacement increment is the same in that complementary pair. Furthermore, in the implementation shown in FIGURE 8F, the receiver coil portion is configured similarly to some complementary pairs previously described herein, wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that the shape of their interior areas would nominally coincide if the shape of one of them is rotated by an offset angle (e.g., 180 degrees) about the central axis to coincide with the angular location of the other about the central axis, and then projected along the axial direction.

[0077] However, in contrast to previously described complementary pairs, the sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor displacement increment are the opposite in the complementary pairs shown in FIGURE 8F. Such an implementation may have certain disadvantages in comparison to implementations wherein the sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with a disruptor displacement increment are the same in each complementary pair. However, the configuration shown in FIGURE 8F is nevertheless not prohibited according to the various principles disclosed herein. With appropriate signal processing, such implementations may still provide certain advantages for use in a scanning probe, in comparison to known inductive type sensing configurations. The signal processing may need to be more complex than is needed in previously disclosed implementations herein (e.g., using more complex signal component relationships to indicate various displacement or position vector components), in order to correct or compensate for various cross coupling effects or the like. However, for the receiver coil portion 870F, such effects may generally be compensated based on known geometric and/or signal relationship constraints and the fact that the magnitude of the change in overlap areas for a given displacement of the disruptor element 851F is the same in the sensor coils of each complementary pair. For example, in the implementation shown in FIGURE 8F, the disruptor element 851F comprises 3 pairs of parallel straight sides (e.g., arranged parallel to the sides of a regular hexagon shape), and, for any respective complementary pair CPi, a first one of a pair of parallel straight sides transects the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi, and a second one of that pair of parallel straight sides transects the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair. Based on the known rigid body translation and rotation characteristics of the disruptor element 851F, the respective overlap areas and local operating gaps of each sensing coil are included in the receiver coil portion 870F to be constrained by known relationships relative to one another, and these known relationships may be used to determine accurate displacement vectors in signal processing for the signal components provided by the receiver coil portion 870F.

[0078] It will be appreciated that the variations shown in FIGURES 7A-7E and FIGURES 8A-8F are indicative of the possibility of further rearranging and/or adjusting the configuration and combination of various elements in a stylus position detection portion according to the various principles disclosed and claimed herein, while retaining many or all of the advantages previously outlined in association with those principles. In general, it will be understood that the various implementations disclosed herein are intended to be exemplary only and not limiting.

[0079] While preferred implementations of the present disclosure have been illustrated and described, numerous variations in the illustrated and described arrangements of features and sequences of operations will be apparent to one skilled in the art based on this disclosure. Various alternative forms may be used to implement the principles disclosed herein. In addition, the various implementations described above can be combined to provide further implementations. All of the U.S. patents and U.S. patent applications referred to in this specification are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety. Aspects of the implementations can be modified, if necessary to employ concepts of the various patents and applications to provide yet further implementations.

[0080] These and other changes can be made to the implementations in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the claims to the specific implementations disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all possible implementations along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.


Claims

1. A scanning probe for a coordinate measuring machine, the scanning probe comprising:

a stylus suspension portion that is coupled to a frame of the scanning probe, comprising:

a stylus coupling portion that is configured to be rigidly coupled to a stylus; and

a stylus motion mechanism that is configured to enable axial motion of the stylus coupling portion along an axial direction, and rotary motion of the stylus coupling portion about a rotation center; and

a stylus position detection portion arranged along a central axis that is parallel to the axial direction and nominally aligned with the rotation center, comprising:

a receiver coil portion comprising a planar top coil substrate including N top rotary sensing coils and a top axial sensing coil configuration and a planar bottom coil substrate including N bottom rotary sensing coils and a bottom axial sensing coil configuration, wherein N is an integer that is at least 3, and the top and bottom coil substrates are mounted in a fixed relationship to the frame of the scanning probe with the bottom coil substrate closer to the stylus suspension portion, and the top and bottom coil substrates are nominally parallel to one another and nominally orthogonal to the central axis, and are spaced apart along the central axis with a disruptor motion volume located therebetween;

a disruptor configuration comprising a disruptor element that comprises a conductive plate or conductive loop that provides a disruptor area, wherein the disruptor element is located along the central axis in the disruptor motion volume between the top and bottom coil substrates and is coupled to the stylus suspension portion by a coupling configuration, wherein the disruptor element moves in the disruptor motion volume relative to an undeflected position in response to a deflection of the stylus suspension portion, the disruptor element moving over an operating motion range +/- Rz along the axial direction in response to the axial motion, and over respective operating motion ranges +/- Rx and +/- Ry along orthogonal X and Y directions that are orthogonal to the axial direction in response to the rotary motion;

a field generating coil configuration comprising at least a first field generating coil that is located proximate to the disruptor motion volume and that is nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis, wherein a projection of a coil area of the first field generating coil along the axial direction encompasses the conductive plate or loop that provides the disruptor area and a coil area of all the rotary and axial sensing coils located on the top and bottom coil substrates, the field generating coil configuration generating a changing magnetic flux generally along the axial direction in the disruptor motion volume in response to a coil drive signal; and

signal processing and control circuitry that is operably connected to the coils of the stylus position detection portion to provide the coil drive signal and configured to input signals from the receiver coil portion comprising respective signal components provided by the respective rotary and axial sensing coils located on the top and bottom coil substrates, and output signals indicative of oran axial position and a rotary position of at least one of the disruptor element or the stylus relative to the frame of the scanning probe,

wherein:

a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of the top axial sensing coil configuration defines a top axial sensing overlap area TASOA, a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of the bottom axial sensing coil configuration defines a bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA, a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of any respective top rotary sensing coil TRSCi defines a respective top rotary coil sensing overlap area TRSCOAi, and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction through an interior coil area of any respective bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi defines a respective bottom rotary coil sensing overlap area BRSCOAi, where i is an individual coil identification index in a range 1 to N;

the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are configured to provide the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA and the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA wherein an amount of each of the overlap areas TASOA and BASOA is unchanged or independent of a position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, and

the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are configured to provide N complementary pairs of rotary sensing coils CPi that each comprise a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi, wherein for any complementary pair CPi for any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, a magnitude of a change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor element displacement increment is nominally the same in that complementary pair.


 
2. The scanning probe of Claim 1, wherein the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are further configured wherein for any complementary pair CPi and any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, both the magnitude and a sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor element displacement increment are the same in that complementary pair.
 
3. The scanning probe of Claim 2, wherein the receiver coil portion is further configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that at least one of:

a shape of their interior areas nominally coincide when projected along the axial direction; or

a shape of their interior areas would nominally coincide if a shape of one of them is rotated about the central axis to coincide with an angular location of the other about the central axis, and then projected along the axial direction.


 
4. The scanning probe of Claim 2, wherein the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are further configured wherein the disruptor element comprises at least N straight sides, and for any respective complementary pair CPi a respective one of the straight sides of the disruptor element transects both the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair.
 
5. The scanning probe of Claim 4, wherein at least one of:

N=3 and the at least N straight sides include 3 sides that are arranged parallel to sides of an equilateral triangle shape; or

N=4 and the at least N straight sides include 4 sides that are arranged parallel to sides of a rectangular or square shape.


 
6. The scanning probe of Claim 1, wherein:

the top axial sensing coil configuration comprises a combination of the N top rotary sensing coils and the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas TRSCOAi associated with the N top rotary sensing coils, wherein that sum is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas TRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element; and

the bottom axial sensing coil configuration comprises a combination of the N bottom rotary sensing coils and the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA comprises a sum of the individual overlap areas BRSCOAi associated with the N bottom rotary sensing coils, wherein that sum is unchanged or independent of the position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, even though its constituent individual overlap areas BRSCOAi vary depending on the position of the disruptor element.


 
7. The scanning probe of Claim 1, wherein:

the top axial sensing coil configuration comprises at least one top axial sensing coil that is not one of the N top rotary sensing coils and that is arranged closer to the central axis than the top rotary sensing coils, and the at least one top axial sensing coil and the disruptor element are characterized in that the at least one top axial sensing coil has an interior coil area that is smaller than the disruptor element and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction completely fills the interior coil area of the at least one top axial sensing coil for any position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, whereby the top axial sensing overlap area TASOA is unchanged by the position of the disruptor element; and

the bottom axial sensing coil configuration comprises at least one bottom axial sensing coil that is not one of the N bottom rotary sensing coils and that is arranged closer to the central axis than the bottom rotary sensing coils, and the at least one bottom axial sensing coil and the disruptor element are characterized in that the at least one bottom axial sensing coil has an interior coil area that is smaller than the disruptor element and a projection of the disruptor element along the axial direction completely fills the interior coil area of the at least one bottom axial sensing coil for any position of the disruptor element within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, whereby the bottom axial sensing overlap area BASOA is unchanged by the position of the disruptor element.


 
8. The scanning probe of Claim 7, wherein:

the at least one top axial sensing coil comprises a single top axial sensing coil that at least partially surrounds the central axis;

the at least one bottom axial sensing coil comprises a single bottom axial sensing coil that at least partially surrounds the central axis; and

an axial sensing coil inscribed cylinder is defined to be concentric with the central axis and to have a radius that is a maximum radius that may be inscribed within edges of the top and bottom axial sensing coils, and

a disruptor inscribed cylinder is defined to be concentric with the central axis and to have a radius that is a maximum radius that may be inscribed within edges of the disruptor element, and

the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder is at least 1.1 times the radius of the axial sensing coil inscribed cylinder.


 
9. The scanning probe of Claim 8, wherein:

the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder is at least 1.2 times the radius of the axial sensing coil inscribed cylinder; and

the radius of the disruptor inscribed cylinder is at most 1.5 times the radius of the axial sensing coil region inscribed cylinder.


 
10. The scanning probe of Claim 1, wherein the receiver coil portion and the disruptor element are further configured wherein for at least one complementary pair CPi and any disruptor element displacement increment within the operating motion ranges +/- Rz, +/- Rx, and +/- Ry, a sign of the change in overlap areas TRSCOAi and BRSCOAi associated with the disruptor element displacement increment are the opposite in that complementary pair.
 
11. The scanning probe of Claim 10, wherein the receiver coil portion is further configured wherein each complementary pair CPi comprises a top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi characterized in that a shape of their interior areas would nominally coincide if a shape of one of them is rotated by an offset angle about the central axis to coincide with the angular location of the other about the central axis, and then projected along the axial direction.
 
12. The scanning probe of Claim 11, wherein the disruptor element comprises N pairs of parallel straight sides, and for any respective complementary pair CPi a first one of a pair of parallel straight sides transects the top rotary sensing coil TRSCi and a second one of that pair of parallel straight sides transects the bottom rotary sensing coil BRSCi of that respective complementary pair.
 
13. The scanning probe of Claim 12, wherein N=3 and the N pairs of parallel straight sides are arranged parallel to the sides of a regular hexagon shape.
 
14. The scanning probe of Claim 1, further comprising a moving member that is coupled to the disruptor element and the stylus coupling portion, the moving element generally extending along the central axis and through a hole located in the bottom coil substrate along the central axis.
 
15. The scanning probe of Claim 1, wherein the field generating coil configuration comprises one of a) a single planar field generating coil that is located approximately at a midplane of the disruptor motion volume and that is nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis, or b) a pair of planar field generating coils that are located approximately equidistant from a midplane of the disruptor motion volume along the central axis, and that are nominally planar and orthogonal to the central axis.
 




Drawing






































REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description