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Navigation-Grade Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System (MEMS) Accelerometer Technologies


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate Navigation-Grade MEMS inertial accelerometers that is applicable for use in precision gyro-compassing, tilt measurement, GPS denied navigation and guidance for various DoD assets; that reduces the Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWaP-C) of systems. 

DESCRIPTION: Although low-cost consumer-grade MEMS accelerometers are widely available in the commercial market, these devices have a higher noise floor, smaller range, and higher thermal sensitivity than required for navigation-grade accelerometers. There is a demand for navigation grade MEMS accelerometers to complement concurrent developments in the navigation grade MEMS gyroscopes. Navigation grade Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) contains 3 or more navigation grade MEMS gyros and accelerometers. Accelerometers play a significant role in the navigation performance when used with navigation grade gyroscopes in an INS. Research is required in the area of sensing mechanism(s) for the specific force measurements along with low noise electronics to develop a high-performance accelerometer. Some of the key performance parameters for the navigation grade accelerometers are as follows: # Accelerometer Parameters Threshold Values 1. Bias <1 mg 2. Bias stability coefficient 50 µg (s) 3. 1 year composite bias repeatability <200 µg 4. Bias ramp coefficient 3 µg/min 5. Noise coefficient (Velocity random walk) 5 µg/vHz 6. Thermal Sensitivity coefficient 200 µg/°C/min (s) 7. Non-linearity 50 µg/g2 (50-2000 Hz) 8. Input Range 20 g 9. Scale factor Error 10 ppm (s) 10.Bandwidth 300 Hz 11.Internal Axis misalignment <0.1 mrad (s) 12.Size <0.01 cu. In. 13.Weight <0.005 lb. 14.Power <3 mW 15.Survivability MIL-STD-810 

PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design for the proposed accelerometer sensor technology. •Develop sensor error models and simulations to estimate the expected performance of the proposed. •Validate the error model and simulation results using representative data. •Deliver a final report that includes: o Accelerometer design, o Error model results and validation, o Feasibility of manufacturing the proposed concept to achieve desired performance o A plan for Phase II activity. 

PHASE II: Perform trade studies and conduct component test and evaluations. •Develop the final design for fabrication of the accelerometer sensor. •Fabricate three or more working prototypes (for concurrent independent government testing and characterization) •Conduct characterization testing and validation of the error models with the representative design; government test facilities can be provided for these characterization (if required) •Deliver a final report containing the trade studies, component test results, Final Design Documents, and test results. 

PHASE III: Productize the accelerometer design and integrate into an INS that can used in soldier-worn, soldier-borne, UAV or other platforms requiring navigation or Situational Awareness function. The accelerometer may be integrated into existing inertial navigation systems. Additionally, identify broader use commercialization and militarization options for this technology 


1: Honeywell, QA2000 Q-Flex® Accelerometer,

2:  Safran, Colibrys, MS-9000 Accelerometer,

KEYWORDS: Gyro-compassing, GPS Denied Navigation, Precision Tilt Measurement, Navigation-Grade Inertial Sensors 


Anik Duttaroy 

(703) 704-3664 

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