SBIR Phase I: A MEMS Environment Resistant Resonant Sensor (ERRS) Process for Very High Performance and High Reliability Inertial Sensors and Oscillators
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
333 Parkland Plaza, Suite #100, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103-6227
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I project is to demonstrate the feasibility of the environment resistant resonant sensor (ERRS) process which will enable a next generation of high performance and high reliability sensors. In the last 5 years, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial (motion) sensors have exploded into a wide range of consumer applications because they can be manufactured for<$1 and are small enough to be integrated into mobile devices. In contrast, MEMS and other inertial sensors used in industrial, aerospace and military applications are significantly larger, more power hungry and extremely costly. This is because these devices require 50 to 100,000× better resolution/measurement stability (bias stability) and high reliability. MEMS gyroscopes (which measure angle change) have extreme difficulty achieving these performance levels because of their need for low vacuum pressure and their high temperature and vibration sensitivity. The ERRS process will address these challenges, with low vacuum pressures and a built in low-power oven and vibration isolation platform. Gyroscopes fabricated in the ERRS process are targeting state of the art performance (bias stabilities of 10 down to 0.01º/hour) at 1/100th the size (0.1 cubic centimeters (cc)) and 1/10th the price of currently available gyroscopes. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to enable a next generation of cost efficient, high performance and high reliability applications enabled by inertial (motion) sensors. Inertial sensors have already had a hugeimpact in the cell phone and gaming industries because of their small size and cost efficiency. The work conducted here will enable extremely high performance gyroscopes (which measure angle change) for a host of commercial, military, aerospace and scientific endeavors. These include: handheld navigation systems for firefighters and troops; navigation of unmanned air vehicles for police, military and commercial applications such as real estate; motion control for industrial robots; precise satellite pointing for broadband internet; and targeting and navigation systems for every troop in the field. These sensors can also be used for surgical robots and wheel chair control. Scientific applications would include precise telescope pointing for terrestrial and space telescopes which look into space and to the earth (for studying the climate). This will also enable researchers to purchase state of the art motion control sensors for developing other new applications.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.