Inertial navigation systems measure the angular velocity of
an object to determine its position, orientation, and velocity as well as any
change in these parameters. These systems do not rely on any external reference
points and are being used in submarines, aircraft, and missiles. The sensing
component of these navigation systems are the ring laser gyroscopes. These
gyroscopes currently rely on the Sagnac effect which describes interference
patterns in light waves. The sensitivity of these devices is defined by the
derivative of the mode beating frequency with respect to the angular rotation
rate. To increase sensitivity of these gyroscopes, previous methods have
increased the beating frequency by reducing the ratio of ring area to perimeter
length. While this has led to increased sensitivity, current technological limitations
prevent large improvements. Another method of increasing sensitivity is needed.
University of New Mexico researchers and their colleagues have developed a novel method of increasing sensitivity in ring laser devices. This method relies on the Non-Linear Sagnac Effect (NLSE) and maintains ring size. With this method, the sensitivity slope has an approximate increase of 100-1000 over current methods.
STC has filed intellectual property on this exciting new technology and is currently exploring commercialization options. If you are interested in information about this or other technologies, please contact Arlene Mirabal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-272-7886.