Compact and Integrated Inertial Measurement Unit For GPS Denied Navigation Using Fast-Light Gyroscopes and Accelerometers

Period of Performance: 10/15/2011 - 07/15/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Digital Optics Technologies, Inc.
1645 Hicks Road, Suite H Array
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: For navigation under GPS denied conditions, there is a need for developing inertial measurement units (IMU), employing gyroscopes and accelerometers, with better accuracy and/or smaller volume and weight than the state of the art. Currently, we at Digital Optics Technologies (DOT) have been developing a superluminal ring laser gyroscope (SRLG) that can improve the accuracy of rotation sensing by nearly five orders of magnitude. Alternatively, for a given accuracy need, the SRLG can be very small. We have also developed the architecture for a superluminal ring laser accelerometer (SRLA), which is expected to achieve a sensitivity of 10 pico-g/Hz, while occupying a very small volume. The focus of Phase I would be to demonstrate the technical feasibility of realizing a compact IMU that would house three SRLGs and three SRLAs for 3-axis rotation and acceleration sensing, utilizing miniature vapor cells, integrated optical components, detectors and frequency-stabilized lasers. Development of a prototype that would meet the size, weight, power and performance goals stated in the solicitation would be carried out in Phase II. Photodigm, Inc., will participate as a subcontractor as well as a vendor. Dr. Selim Shahriar, inventor of the SRLG and the SRLA and the chief scientific adviser at DOT, will coordinate the overall effort. BENEFIT: Three SRLAs, combined with three SRLGs, can be used to realize a high accuracy IMU that is very compact and light weight. Such an IMU could also be relatively inexpensive. An IMU of this type could have a significant impact on guidance, navigation and control systems for spacecraft, launch vehicles, missiles, kill vehicles, smart munitions, and other applications requiring precision inertial knowledge. Non-DoD applications include spacecraft guidance, navigation and control, as well as commercial aircraft inertial navigation systems.