An optical rotary joint using injection moulded collimating optics (credit H. Poisel, Ohm University of Applied Sciences, Nuernberg, Germany)

Runt Pulses & Nonclassic Components 

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Following modern views about what really a measurement is, it also becomes possible to understand why they are unavoidable the Runt Triggerings.  Triggerings on Runt pulses are not simply errors of the system, rather also hint to the reality of what really happens on a smaller scale arena where and when Signals, of extremely brief duration and energy, super impose themselves.  Interfering, sometimes contructively building up a spiked signal, some times destructively creating a hole in an other wise constant amplitude.   A constant fluctuation around values looking us constant only because integrated along extended periods of time.   Extended periods of time because of sampling rates inadequate to let us go closer to the reality.  

All technicians involved in Electronic Maintenance know that connecting an oscilloscope to a metal object, then setting a Time base like 1 millisecond, discloses a scenario of jitters and spikes, generically named noise.  Due to the complexity the subject, in the following we’ll illustrate them by a massive use of figures.   Its most relevant component induced by the mains power grid, easily recognized by its frequency of 50 Hz or 60 Hz.   But, accessing a different kind of instrument, one capable to clock also pulses shorter than one attosecond ( 10-18 s), it becomes possible to witness what scientists started to see more than 60 years ago.  Then, the arena of apparent noise starts to show a distinct pattern: average values, nearly constant along time, tend to disappear, replaced by irregular functions sporting discontinuities. 

 Connecting an oscilloscope to a metal object, then setting a Time base like 1 millisecond, discloses a scenario of jitters and spikes.  When furtherly zooming also discontinuities may appear (credit Agilent Technologies®/2013)


16-megapixel med-2

 Also consumer cameras use a Trigger.  The mechanic push button traditionally opening the shutter front of a film, is replaced by a soft-key triggering a sequence of measures and evaluations, preceding the image acquisition and saving

 Nonclassic Quantum effects are wherever. Massively active also in this Server.  Nonlinear components are >99.9999 % of the total components. They follow Quantum principles and theorems.  Same is true for Bottling Controls

Runt pulses are pulses that don’t reach a valid high or low level, meaning they’ll reach potentials intermediate between what are considered logic “High“ and “Low“ statuses. They appear for a variety of reasons, and are frequent in the harsh conditions of all of the Food and Beverage Bottling Lines. 

 Nanometric close-up of the few millimeters over which they lie 3.1 billions of transistors building up the 8-cores Intel® Itanium™ Poulson 9500.  Each transistor operates following the Quantum postulates and theorems associated to the Schroedinger equation.  Their size is 32 nm (image credit Intel®, 2011)

  Intel® Broadwell™ CPU has several billions of transistors sized 14 nm (credit Intel®/2013)

In the following, listed just seventeen of the multiple reasons:

  1. dust or dirt on the surfaces of photoelectric switches;
  2. uncertain switching of inductive sensors, 
  3. humidity on the surfaces of photoelectric switches;   
  4. induction of transient potentials in the signal line, due to insufficient or missing radio frequency shielding of the trigger sensor cable;
  5. fluctuations of the mass (common) potential of the sensor and/or of the IO circuit in the Electronic Inspector, due to defective insulation of the windings of motors;
  6. intrinsic fluctuations of the potential of the sensor’s inner electronics;
  7. intrinsic fluctuations of the potential of the Electronic Inspector IO electronics processing a trigger sensor signal;
  8. incorrect orientation of the light beam emitted by the Projector, in the trigger sensors based on Projector and Receiver;
  9. excessive distance between Projector and Receive, in the trigger sensors based on Projector and Receiver;
  10. excessive distance from the sensor of the metal body used as a phase reference in the inductive trigger sensors;
  11. incorrect orientation of the sensor of the metal body used as a phase reference in the inductive trigger sensors;
  12. optical effects (diffraction and/or reflection and/or refraction) in the glass of the neck of the bottles or the paint over the external surface of the cans, used by a photolectric barrier as a source for its out coming trigger signal;
  13. reduced ferromagnetism of the metal body used as a phase reference in the inductive trigger sensors;
  14. excessive speed of the metal body used as a phase reference in the inductive trigger sensors;
  15. excessive speed of the bottles or cans used by a photolectric barrier as a source for its out coming trigger signal;
  16. temporary mechanical vibrations of the terminals where trigger sensor conductors are connected, implying false contacts of extremely brief duration;
  17. oxidation of the terminals where trigger sensor conductors are connected, implying false contacts of extremely brief duration.
  18. ………………………………………………...

The IO digital inputs of the Electronic Inspectors can be equipped with separate circuits counting, for each one channel, all of those Trigger pulses that, in the reality, did not reach a valid “High" or "Low" level.   This is possible by:

  1. setting two threshold levels, rather than one;
  2. looking for signals that only cross one of them.

Knowing what IO line, what Trigger, is introducing runt signals and setting a limit for their frequency, a limit related to the actual frequency of processed containers-per-hour, it becomes possible to make available to the Bottling Plant Staff extremely useful auto-diagnostics. Diagnostics pre-emptive with respect to permament fault statuses otherwise later affecting the entire Electronic Inspector and, from there, the entire Bottling Line.

>99.9999 % of the Electronic Inspectors’ 

components are Non-classic

120-megapixel-cmos-sensor-2 med

All, whatever its scale of dimension and duration, behave this way and the Bottling Controls are not an exception.  Electronic Inspectors always include macroscopic devices, devices whose size, mass and duration is not very different than Our own, whose operation is nonclassic and  nonlinear, like:

  • transistors, massively present into all Integrated Circuits welded over printed circuit boards visible in several figures in these web site;
  • rectifier diodes, based on semiconductor junctions;
  • CCD-cameras, based on bidimensional arrays of semiconductors;  
  • CMOS-cameras, based on bidimensional arrays of semiconductors;  
  • X-rays solid state detectors, based on arrays of phototransistors;
  • Trigger photosensors, using LASER sources and detectors based on semiconductors      (like the one visible in the video in the initial part of this page). 

  A giant 120 megapixels vision sensor

If we divide all of the electronic components into an Electronic Inspector in two categories: 

  • linear,     resistors + capacitors + inductors + connectors + cables;
  • non-linear,  transistors in and out of Integrated Circuits + rectifiers;

and relate them, we'll discover that > 99.9999 % of the electronic components which let the Electronic Inspector operate follow nonclassic Quantum principles.      And all of the camera-equipped models of Empty Bottle Inspectors and Full Bottle Inspectors include any optical components, like: 

  • Beam Splitters (see figure below);
  • Polariser Filters (see figures below);
  • Fresnel prisms;
  • ¼ wave delay plates;

cooperating with the nonclassic devices listed above to accomplish the measurement process named inspection.  

Example.  Beam Splitters

Beam Splitters are optic components dividing a beam of light following its: 

  • wavelength, 
  • power, 
  • polarization, 

reflecting a portion through 90° and transmitting the remaining.  Their most common optical material is UV-grade fused silica.

  Beam Splitter. LASER photons, incident, refracted and reflected in different directions by a beam splitter are always part of the experiments of Quantum Optics. Also present in all Empty Bottle Inspectors and many Full Bottle Inspectors equipped with cameras.  In the example, a metal coated mirror model, where the metallic coating is made thin enough to obtain partial reflectance.  It is important to understand that all glass panes (windows included) act as Beam Splitters (abridged by Zaereth, licensed under Wikimedia Commons)

Active part of the component is its coating which exists in different versions:

Besm splitter transmission curve
  • polarizing, 
  • laser line non-polarizing, 
  • ion beam sputtered, 
  • broadband dielectric, 
  • broadband hybrid. 

We are speaking of Neodimium or Titanium coatings, obtained by mean of electron-beam multilayer dielectric. Coatings with the additional feature of antireflection, matched to the wavelengths of operation at any air-glass interfaces, minimising transmission loss and ghost reflections.


  Transmission curve of a commonly used low-power round 50.8 mm diameter Beam Splitter.  “P” and “S” refer to the kind of polarization of the incident photons. “UNP” to nonpolarized light. 

  The screw in the inner front of this multiplet of lenses allows the introduction of a glass circular Polarizer filter, like the one in the figures down. The coloured surface visible in the front lens on left side, is an indicator of anti-reflex treatment

 In the Empty Bottle Inspectors, glass Polarizer Filters like the one visible in the animation below, are frequently set in front of the zoom lenses to increase Signal-to-Noise ratio. This, allowing detection of defects otherwise invisible. Polarization is a popular synonimous for a non-classic property of each one photon, named spin  

   The Beam Splitters are optical components commonly adopted in the camera-equipped Food and Beverage Bottling Controls, like Full and Empty Glass and PET Bottle Inspectors.  Participating to the measurement process ending in the binary classification (image credit TruMicro, 2013)

The Table below shows some of the many different ways in which these components  participate to the measurement process, for selected types of Electronic Inspectors commonly used into Beverage Bottling Lines:


Inspector            Inspection              Detected                                                 Optic components 


Full Bottle                  Finish                            Metal seal defects in aseptic filled beverage        Fresnel prism

Full Bottle                  Optical closure              PET cap defects: too high, inclined, etc.             Polariser

Empty Bottle             Base                              Opaque foreign objects                                        Polarisers, Beam Splitter                 

Empty Bottle             Base                              Semi-trasparent foreign objects, plastics             Polarisers, ¼ wave plate, Beam Splitter 

Empty Bottle             External Sidewall           Opaque foreign objects                                        Polarisers         

Empty Bottle             External Sidewall           Semi-trasparent foreign objects, plastics             Polarisers, ¼ wave plate, Beam Splitter

Empty Bottle             Finish                             Broken finish                                                         Fresnel prism

Empty Bottle             Infrared                          Hydrocarbons                                                       Polarisers, Beam Splitter 

Empty Bottle             Inner Sidewall                Opaque or semi-transparent foreign objects       Polarisers, Beam Splitter

PET EBI                    Base, Seal, Neck            Various kinds of defects                                       Polarisers, Beam Splitter 

Plastic caps              Panel, thread, etc.          Various kinds of defects                                       Polarisers, Beam Splitter

Full Crate                  Foreign objects              Semi-transp. plastic foils in returned crates         Polarisers, ¼ wave delay plate


  Peculiar optical components commonly adopted in Food and Beverage Bottling Controls, directly participating to the measurement process enacted in the last by mean of non-classic devices, based on semiconductors.  A visit to a Quantum Optics Laboratory confirm a near congruence of Optoelectronics resources

 Opening the optic of a modern industrial vision system reveals that nonlinear nonclassic solid-state electronics replaced the classic optomechanical zoom manual adjustment

cmos-industrial-camera-32 med

LED Projector-Receiver Triggers allowed reduction of the false trigger signals. Later LASER light Triggers continued to ameliorate the triggering function, reducing still more the false Triggers, but is knowingly impossible to encounter a Technology capable to zero them all.  We hint to the fact that Trigger signals in amounts inferior or superior, however different than the number of Containers which interacted with the Triggers is a:

  • negative feature of all Electronic Inspectors, e.g. creating false rejects or undue actions of the rejectors which may provoke jams and stops;
  • behaviour explicitly expected by Physics for systems of this kind.

  Industrial camera equipped with a CMOS vision sensor 

  Mechanical disk drives (HDD) are being replaced in the Electronic Inspectors by SSD or FlashPROM solid state devices

Bottling Controls.  But, since a few years, there are also Vendors proposing to Bottlers as a retrofit the replacement of these devices with nonlinear semiconductors-based FlashPROMs.  Mechanic HDDs' Medium Time Between Faults is short and approximately < 2 years and this really is the excellent reason for the change.  In the meantime, Vendors are migrating the technology of the mass memory of the Bottling Controls toward what visible down, Solid StateDrives (SSDs), based on transistors. 

  A solid state drive (SSD)

It could be imagined that such a trend toward quantum-based components shall hit an upper ceiling: that maybe in a few years we’d be spectators of a massive re-entry of linear components in Optoelectronics.  As an example, consider the electromechanical hard disk drive (HDD) in the figure on left side, still equipping the

mechanical disk drives (HDD) are being replaced in the Electronic Inspectors by SSD or FlashPROM solid state devices



One more time, less space for mechanic or electro-mechanic components and increased presence of solid state non-linear components obeying Quantum rules, rather than laws of classical Mechanics or Electrotechnics.  The, the most probable scenario we’ll see next in the medium term, is thinkably hinted by the figure down. Knowingly, Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) are an important component of today Image Processing and Machine Vision industrial applications.  Shown one of the most powerful consumer-level GPUs of the World: its 6.3 billions of transistors are confirming we recently entered in a quite different Industrial environment, one destined to be dominated by quantum effects by mean of applications which have only started to be figured.  Refer to the chart in the figure in the bottom, right side, showing the growth of computational power from 1900 til 2010.  After nonlinear components introduction into computers, computational power increased ~1 million of billions of times.   Nonlinear components diffusion into Bottling Controls is part of a generalised technological trend.

Computational power after nonlinear components introduction increased 1 million of billions of time

 A GPU-card carrying with more than 6.3 billions of transistors with 350 Gflops (billions of floating point operations per second) of processing power

  Growth of the computational power after the introduction of transistors, non-classic devices based on quantum principles:  ~1 million of billions of times (1958 - 2010)


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