Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Three Dimensional Microstructures and Fabrication Process of Micro-scale Navigation Grade Rate Integrating Gyroscope for GPS-free Guidance

Technology #6500

Recent advances in micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technologies resulted in the successful commercialization of high-performance sensors and actuators in a variety of areas such as motion sensing, wireless communication, energy harvesting, and healthcare. The performance of most MEMS sensors and actuators are limited by materials along with their structures and because of their low quality factors (Q), they have large noise and small actuation range. Most MEMS devices have two-dimensional geometries because of limitations in existing microfabrication technologies. Sensors with these geometries tend to have worse performance under external vibrations, shocks, and temperature drifts than sensors with three-dimensional geometries. Therefore, fabrication techniques that allow creation of high Q mechanical, optical, and magnetic sensors and actuators is a promising area of research that can have an important impact on the MEMS Gyroscope Sensors market which is > $1.3B in revenues.

Microstructures and Fabrication Process of Micro-scale Navigation Grade Rate Integrating Gyroscope

Research efforts on MEMS sensors and actuators led by the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan have resulted in a wide range of micro resonator architectures and fabrication technologies for future navigation-grade rate integrating gyroscopes (RIG). The proposed technology offers structures related to micro axisymmetric resonators for micro rate-integrating gyroscopes. Moreover, several process technologies that can be used to batch-fabricate these resonators on the micro scale are proposed. These resonator structures and fabrication processes can be also used for creating other kinds of ultra-high-performance micro sensors and actuators. By introducing a micro-scale fused silica RIG with the proposed technology, gyroscopes will have similar performance with military gyroscopes (ring laser gyros or fiber optic gyros) but >100x smaller size, >100x cheaper price, and >100x smaller power consumption.

Applications

  • GPS-free navigation of people and cars inside buildings or tunnels
  • Consumer electronics such as smartphones
  • Inertial Measurement Unit for airplanes, drones, and missiles.

Advantages

  • Enables manufacturing of micro gyroscopes from ultra-high quality factor materials
  • >100x smaller size, >100x cheaper price, >100x smaller power consumption compared to military gyros