Sensors go Systematic
Thanks to intensive research, it is now possible to electronically measure many physical quantities for which this appeared to be unthinkable only a few years ago. At the same time, sensors with integrated electronic signal processing are evolving into measurement systems. In this article, we examine a few interesting sensors as representative examples of a large variety of new products. Under the increasing time and cost pressures imposed on developing instrumentation devices, building preamplifiers for sensors is increasingly coming to be seen as an irksome secondary task. They must be exactly matched to the sensor output signals, which are usually weak, and if a different type of sensor is used, the entire job has to be done all over again. A far more user-friendly approach is to employ sensors whose signals have been preconditioned to remove distortion factors (such as temperature dependence, offsets and the like) and give them a standardised output format, such as 0–10V or 4–20 mA. This makes it easy to swap sensors.