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Optically read Coriolis vibratory gyroscope based on a silicon tuning fork...

by Nickolay V Lavrik, Panagiotis G Datskos
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Microsystems & Nanoengineering
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In this work, we describe the design, fabrication, and characterization of purely mechanical miniature resonating structures that exhibit gyroscopic performance comparable to that of more complex microelectromechanical systems. Compared to previous implementations of Coriolis vibratory gyroscopes, the present approach has the key advantage of using excitation and probing that do not require any on-chip electronics or electrical contacts near the resonating structure. More specifically, our design relies on differential optical readout, each channel of which is similar to the “optical lever” readout used in atomic force microscopy. The piezoelectrically actuated stage provides highly efficient excitation of millimeter-scale tuning fork structures that were fabricated using widely available high-throughput wafer-level silicon processing. In our experiments, reproducible responses to rotational rates as low as 1.8 × 103° h−1 were demonstrated using a benchtop prototype without any additional processing of the raw signal. The noise-equivalent rate, ΩNER, derived from the Allan deviation plot, was found to be <0.5° h−1 for a time of 103 s. Despite the relatively low Q factors (<104) of the tuning fork structures operating under ambient pressure and temperature conditions, the measured performance was not limited by thermomechanical noise. In fact, the performance demonstrated in this proof-of-principle study is approximately four orders of magnitude away from the fundamental limit.