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June 15, 2010

DARPA Continues Micro-Gyroscope Project

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Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected to continue development of a miniature navigation grade gyro for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that will provide precision navigation for size and power constrained applications.

The company will develop the final configuration for a stand-alone micro-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Gyro (micro-NMRG) for DARPA's Micro-Technology for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (Micro-PNT) program.

Northrop Grumman's micro-NMRG technology uses the spins of atomic nuclei to detect the rotation of the gyro and will provide comparable performance to a navigation grade fiber-optic gyro in a small size, low power package. The technology could be used in any application requiring small size and low power precision navigation, including personal and unmanned vehicle navigation in GPS-denied or GPS-challenged locations.


Here is word document research paper from 2007 on micro-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Gyro.

Powerpoint of the 2007 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Gyro research

Multi-layer thin-film design:
* Improves cell’s reflectance to ~ 99%
* Able to keep circularly polarized light inside cell


A patent - Compact Atomic Magnetometer and gyroscope Based on a Diverging Laser beam

An atomic magnetometer that simultaneously achieves high sensitivity, simple fabrication and small size. This design is based on a diverging (or converging) beam of light that passes through an alkali atom vapor cell and that contains a distribution of beam propagation vectors. The existence of more than one propagation direction permits longitudinal optical pumping of atomic system and simultaneous detection of the transverse atomic polarization. The design could be implemented with a micro machined alkali vapor cell and light from a single semiconductor laser. A small modification to the cell contents and excitation geometry allows for use as a gyroscope


Northrop Grumman offers its customers more than 50 years of navigation experience and produces navigation products utilizing a range of technologies including fiber-optic gyro-based systems, Northrop Grumman's exclusive hemispherical resonator gyro, unique ZLG(TM) gyros, spinning mass gyros, ring laser gyros, and micro-electro-mechanical-system gyros.

China is working on micro-gyroscope technology as well.

This review reports an overview and development of micro-gyroscope. The review first presents different types of micro-gyroscopes. Micro-gyroscopes in this review are categorized into Coriolis gyroscope, levitated rotor gyroscope, Sagnac gyroscope, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) gyroscope according to the working principle. Different principles, structures, materials, fabrications and control technologies of micro-gyroscopes are analyzed. This review compares different classes of gyroscopes in the aspects such as fabrication method, detection axis, materials, size and so on. Finally, the review evaluates the key technologies on how to improve the precision and anti-jamming ability and to extend the available applications of the gyroscopes in the market and patents as well.


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