FIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention relates to magnetic field concentration apparatus, particularly signal enhancement 5 and/or apparatus for confining magnetic flux within an aperture, and/or to shield magnetic flux from components, and/or to means for improving signal reception. The present invention has a particular application to passive devices, such as tokens, transponders or smart cards.
It is well known that metal placed in the proxi~ity of a magnetic field receiving coil will substantially reduce the amount of magnetic field received by the coil. For example, metal placed between a source of the magnetic field 15 and the coil can operate to prevent any magnetic field from being picked up by the coil as shown in Figure 1. The metal sheet serves to absorb and deflect the flux radiated from the driver coil or magnetic field source.
Figure 2 shows another situation where a metal 20 sheet serves to reduce signal reception. The metal sheet is placed behind the coil. The metal sheet acts to reduce the amount of flux received by the coil by radiating an opposing flux field. The closer the metal sheet, to the coil, the larger the opposing flux field and the less signal flux is 25 received by the coil. In effect the metal sheets serve to proportionately nullify the driver coil radiated flux.
U.S. Patent 4,373,163 discloses an electrostatic shield with an antenna loop therein (Figure 1). The antenna is surrounded by a metal shield. The specification does not 30 disclose a conductor plate proximate and in substantially the same plane as an antenna to enhance signal reception, in accordance with the present invention as will be described in more detail hereinafter.
U.S. Patent 4,486,731 discloses a signal 35 enhancement apparatus in the form of a coil having magnetically permeable material disposed in overlapping relationship with a coil. The coil is influenced by strips 23 and 24 when the coil is oriented parallel to the - 3 ~ 1 334 2l 5 direction of impinging flux (column 2, lines 23 to 41).
However, U.S. Patent 4,486,731 relates to the problem of coil reception when the coil is in the same plane as the impinging flux, whereas the present invention relates to increasing the reception of flux by a coil by providing a concentrator in juxtaposition to and in substantially the same plane as the coil.
U.S. Patent 4,754,284 discloses an automobile antenna system for use in receiving high frequency bands in excess of 50 MHz.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION ~`
An object of the present invention is to provide a concentrator which can be associated or juxtaposed a coil without deleterious effect on the coil's ability to receive signals or magnetic fields.
Another object of the present invention is to provide improved concentrator performance.
The present invention in one form provides a concentrator adapted to concentrate signals for reception by a receiver means, said concentrator comprising an electrically conductive portion juxtaposed said receiver means, said concentrator being aligned so as to receive said signals and cause further signals to impinge on said receiver means, and thereby enhance reception of said signals by said receiver means.
The present invention further provides a magnetic field concentrator comprising an electrically conductive portion, said concentrator being orientated to receive a magnetic field and cause flux to be radiated from said portion, the concentrator being juxtaposed a receiver means, adapted to also receive said field, such that said receiver means operates to receive said flux in addition to said field.
The electrically conductive portion is preferably made of metal, for example aluminium or copper.
The present invention also provides a magnetic field concentrator adapted to surround a receiver means, the concentrator comprising a loop having first and second interconnected portions, wherein :
~~ _ 4 _ l 33421 5 the first portion has first and second regions, the first portion being continuous between said first and second regions, the first region being juxtaposed and spaced from said second region, the first portion being adapted to surround said receiver means, the second portion having third and fourth regions, the second portion being continuous between said third and fourth regions, the third region being juxtaposed and spaced from said fourth region, the second portion being adapted to 10 substantially encircle said first portion, first and second interconnection portions, the ~
first interconnection portion being adapted to couple said first region to said third region, the second interconnection portion being adapted to couple said second region and said fourth region, the loop being formed in a continuous manner and having a space provided between said first and second interconnection portions.
The concentrator described above may, upon being incident with a magnetic field, have substantially no magnetic field pass between said first and second portions, the field being diverted through said first portion and incident said receiver means.
The present invention also provides a magnetic field concentrator adapted to enhance field reception by a receiver means, the concentrator being juxtaposed and adapted to influence said receiver means, wherein the concentrator comprises a metal portion adapted to substantially surround said receiver means in one plane, the metal portion being further adapted to encircle the receiver means in the plane in a discontinuous manner, wherein, upon radiation by said field, the concentrator generates flux which is received by the receiver means in addition to said field.
The present invention may provide a shield for alleviating radiation from magnetic fields within a predetermined area, the shield comprising a loop having first and second portions and third and fourth interconnecting portions, ~ _ 5 _ l 3342 1 5 the first portion having first and second regions, the first portion being continuous between said first and second regions, the first region being substantially opposingly juxtaposed and spaced from said second region, the first portion substantially encircling said predetermined area, the second portion having third and fourth regions, being aligned with the first and second regions respectively, the second portion being continuous between 10 said third and fourth regions, the third region being substantially opposingly juxtaposed and spaced from said~
fourth region, the second portion being adapted to substantially encircle said first portion, the first interconnection portion being adapted to 15 couple said first and fourth regions and the second interconnecting portion being adapted to couple said second and third regions, wherein said magnetic fields are substantially excluded from the area bounded by the first portion.
The portions of the shield and concentrators described above may in one form be substantially "C" shaped in configuration.
The present invention also provides a shield for substantially eliminating magnetic field radiation from 25 within a predetermined area comprising a first conductive portion substantially encompassing said area and a second conductive portion substantially encompassing and being spaced from said first portion, end regions of said first and second portions being coupled in an overlapping 30 arrangement so as to form one continuous strip, whereby, upon radiation by a magnetic field, the field is substantially diverted from said area.
The present invention may also provide a magnetic field concentrator which may be used to confine an 35 alternating magnetic flux within an aperture and/or concentrate a magnetic flux in a coil and/or shield components from the flux. The concentrator may be useful where a large coil for collecting flux is more expensive than a concentrator and smaller coil or where the coil size presents problems. The concentrator may preferably be made from a material with good electrical conductivity which thereby improves the concentrator's performance. The degree of conductivity may determine the amount of flux radiated from the concentrator. Non-magnetic or magnetic conductors may also be contemplated.
Preferred embodiment(s) of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying 10 drawings, wherein :
Figures 1 and 2 show prior art arrangements. ~
Figures 3 to 14 show various exemplary (only) forms of concentrator according to the present invention.
Throughout this document, the term "coil" should be 15 construed in a non-limiting way. The term "coil" may include, for example, any signal receiving apparatus or magnetic field receptor as the present invention has many applications. As can be appreciated, the shape of the metal herein described should not be limited to a particular 20 configuration. The shape of metal is dependent on its application or use.
Also, throughout this document, the terms "signal"
or "signals" include within their scope any form of electromagnetic radiation. The signal may, for example, be 25 a powering signal or a data or informational signal.
Although metal placed proximate a receiving coil is known to reduce the coil's receptive ability, a metal sheet placed in juxtaposition and/or in substantially the same plane as the coil as will be hereinafter detailed will not 30 have a negative effect on the coil's receptive ability.
Figure 3 shows a metal sheet placed in the same plane as the coil. The metal serves to increase the amount of flux, impinging the coil. The increase of flux on the coil due to the metal is inversely proportional to the spacing between 35 the metal and the coil.
Figure 4 shows a coil surrounded in the coil's plane by metal. As can be seen, the additional fluxes produced by circulating currents, opposes and reduces the '-- 1 33421 S
applied currents. Accordingly, no flux enhancement is produced for the coil the metal surrounds.
Figure 5 shows metal similar in shape to that previously mentioned, however, a slot or gap is provided in the metal so that the metal surrounds the coil in a discontinuous manner.
The gap in the metal surrounding the coil causes the eddy currents (produced in response to impinging flux) to produce a field that serves to increase the flux impinging the coil.
Figure 6 shows a concentrator similar to that hereinbefore described.
The concentrator may be preferably constructed in two forms :-15 (i) A metal plate with a hole cut to allow the magnetic flux to pass through. A slot of slots are cut from the hole out to the perimeter to alleviate circulating currents, which causes a drastic reduction in flux, from encircling the hole. The slot(s) may overlap, as long as there is substantially no continuous conduction path around the central hole (Figures 5, 6 and 7). Co-pending Canadian Applications SN 585,702 filed Dec. 12, and SN 593,519 filed March 13, 1989 INDUCTIVE
ELEMENT FOR USE AS AN ANTENNA IN TRANSPONDERS filed in the name of Magellan Corporation (Australia) Pty. Limited disclose a method of simultaneously fabricating electrical coils and capacitors, and now forming PCT specification No. PCT/AU89/00095.
Transponders, identification devices or the like employ resonant circuits which comprise interconnected inductors or coils and capacitors, and optionally include interconnected active circuitries embodied in VLSI integrated circuit chips. The resonant circuits are adapted to receive electrical power from an external electromagnetic field generated by some ,~
- 7a - 1 33421 5 interrogators or like apparatus. Optionally, the resonant circ~its supply the power so received and collected to the active circuitries which may then generate the appropriate electrical signals as predetermined. Such signals may further be sent to other inductors, preferably the same power receiving inductors, functioning as antennae for transmission of the signals, to be received by some external receptors, preferably the same interrogators.
Accordingly, it is of significance that in the construction and fabrication of the complete electronic circuits of the transponders, identification devices or the like, the capacitors and inductors or coils should be conveniently interconnected.
The circuit for use in a transponder, identification device or the like, can comprise at least one inductive element or coil wherein said at least one generally elongate or serpentive conductive strip is arranged on the one and same insulative substrate. The electronic circuit may further comprise at least one capacitive element, each capacitive element comprising a plurality of conductive members arranged on one or both sides of the one and same insulative substrate such that said plurality of conductive members superpose each other by folding of the substrate to form at least one capacitor.
Conveniently, the plates of capacitors so fabricated may take a substantially "C" shaped - configuration and be disposed to surround the associated coils as hereinbefore described. This technique permits the area consumed by said capacitor plates to contribute towards the flux gathering ability of said coils.
(ii) A wire loop concentrator using high conductivity X
~ 7b - 1 3342 1 5 wire, for example bent to follow the perimeter of the metal plate shown in Figures 7, 9 and 10, may _ - 8 - l 3 3 4 2 1 5 perform the same concentrating function provided the wire forms a continuous conducting path.
The operation of both exemplary forms as shown in the drawings can be described thus :-5 (i) Circulating currents induced on the surface of a metal plate prevent an alternating magnetic flux from penetrating below the skin depth. For lOOKHz on copper, this is about 0.18mm. Consequently, an alternating flux cannot penetrate thick metal plates and flows around the conducting obstacle.
With a hole cut in the metal plate, some of the~
flux interrupted by the plate is diverted through the hole increasing the flux density in that area, while the balance goes around the outer edge of the plate (Figure 8). Without the slot, the metal plate acts as a one turn short circuit. This may maintain an almost equal in magnitude, oppositely directed flux in the central hole cancelling most of the flux trying to pass through it. This may have a negative effect for magnetic field concentration purposes, but may be used to substantially exclude flux from an area.
(ii) The wire loop acts as a one turn short circuit.
The back emf generated in the wire loop ensures that the total flux passing through the space between the inner and outer loops is very small, only enough to account for ohmic losses. The flux intercepted by the loop configuration is concentrated in the inner loop in substantially the same manner as for the metal plate (Figure 9).
The wire loop concentrator may also be used to substantially exclude flux from an area. By crossing the wire connections between the inner and outer loops, without allowing them to touch, the flux passing through the inner 35 loop is drastically reduced. Figure 10 shows an example ofthis configuration.
Figure 11 shows an example of a field concentrator acting as an electrostatic Faraday shield. The coil is shown partially surrounded by a conventional Faraday shield.
The Faraday shield is extended to form a field concentrator, or may be coupled to an existing concentrator.
Electrostatic shielding reduces the capacitive sensitivity of the coil to objects in the vicinity of the coil. The Faraday shield may extend only part way around the coil in order to adjust capacitive sensitivity.
Alternatively, field concentration and electrostatic shielding can be achieved using two field 10 concentration plates. One placed in front of the coil, the other behind the coil as shown in Figure 12.
Figure 13 shows a cross-section of this arrangement. Connection between the front and back plates can be made anywhere along the plates, however, preferably 15 this is done on the inside and/or the outside of the coil.
See Figures 14A, B and C.