Two types of temperature sensors have been developed for wide-range temperature applications. The two sensors measure temperature in the range of –190 to +200 °C and utilize a thin-film platinum RTD (resistance temperature detector) as the temperature-sensing element. Other parts used in the fabrication of these sensors include NPO (negative-positive-zero) type ceramic capacitors for timing, thermally-stable film or wire-wound resistors, and high-temperature circuit boards and solder.

The first type of temperature sensor is a relaxation oscillator circuit using an SOI (silicon-on-insulator) operational amplifier as a comparator. The output is a pulse train with a period that is roughly proportional to the temperature being measured. The voltage level of the pulse train is high-level, for example 10 V. The high-level output makes the sensor less sensitive to noise or electromagnetic interference. The output can be read by a frequency or period meter and then converted into a temperature reading.

The second type of temperature sensor is made up of various types of multi-vibrator circuits using an SOI type 555 timer and the passive components mentioned above. Three configurations have been developed that were based on the technique of charging and discharging a capacitor through a resistive element to create a train of pulses governed by the capacitor-resistor time constant.

Both types of sensors, which operated successfully over the wide temperature range, have potential use in extreme temperature environments including jet engines and space exploration missions.

This work was done by Richard L. Patterson of Glenn Research Center and Ahmad Hammoud of ASRC Aerospace Corp.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18350-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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