Technology

Technology

Explore Cutting-Edge MEMS Gyroscopes:

Revolutionising High-Performance Inertial Sensing

MEMS gyroscopes, specifically MEMS angular rate sensors, are crucial for precisely measuring rate of turn (°/s) without a fixed reference point. This sets gyros apart from traditional rotation measurement tools like tachometers or potentiometers.

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Gyroscopes

Our History

All our MEMS gyros use a unique, patented VSG resonating ring technology to detect rotation rate through the Coriolis phenomenon. In the late 1990s, Silicon Sensing pioneered the first MEMS VSG.

Since then, over 20,000,000 MEMS gyros have been delivered, a testament to their reliability, with many still operating flawlessly after two decades of continuous service.

VSG technology has evolved into three generations – Inductive, Capacitive, and PZT. This evolution enables us to offer a diverse range of MEMS VSG gyros, spanning from cost-effective, precision chipscale sensors like PinPoint®, to FOG-grade high-performance MEMS Gyro modules, such as CRH03 and CRS39A.

The evolution of Inertial Sensor Technology:

The history of gyroscopes

Gyros first emerged in the early 20th Century in the form of Mechanical Gyroscopes. These devices utilised spinning mass, supported in a way its position in inertial space remains fixed, allowing the rotation of its support structure to be measured. These types of mechanical gyroscopes, such as DTGs (Dynamically Tuned Gyros) are still used in modern applications when high precision is needed.

In the 1970s, Optical gyroscopes became the focus of the market. RLGs (Ring Laser Gyros) and FOGs (Fibre Optic Gyros) use the phase shift of light, reflected from a surface in opposite directions along a fixed path to detect angular velocity.

Over the last two decades, the landscape of the inertial sensor market has undergone a transformative shift with the rise of ‘solid state’ non-rotating rate sensors, commonly mislabeled as gyroscopes. Silicon Sensing was one of the original pioneering companies, that led to the commercialisation of solid-state gyroscopes in the 1990’s, with the launch of the VSG (Vibrating Structure Gyro).

The Innovation Behind Silicon Sensing's MEMS VSG Gyros:

Unlocking precision

All our MEMS VSG gyros employ a groundbreaking approach – utilising a vibrating or resonating ring, fabricated using a DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etch) bulk silicon process. The annular ring is intricately supported in free space by eight pairs of symmetrical spokes. This fabrication, coupled with our unique patented ring design, ensures close tolerance geometrical properties, allowing precise balance and thermal stability.

Unlike other MEMS VSG gyros, our design eliminates small gaps that create problems with interference and stiction. This enables us to create high quality products with unparalleled bias and scale factor stability, regardless of temperature, vibration, or shock exposure. Moreover, our patented design boasts inherent immunity to acceleration induced rate error, commonly known as ‘G-sensitivity’.

Inside our MEMS VSG Gyros:

Pioneering Technology

At the heart of our MEMS VSG gyros is an integration of actuators and transducers which are strategically attached to the upper surface of the silicon ring perimeter. These components are electrically connected to bond pads on the silicon via tracks embedded on the spokes. These actuators serve a dual purpose, they either actuate or ‘drive’ the ring into its Cos2θ mode of vibration (like rubbing a wet finger on wine glass, causing it to vibrate and ‘ring’), or the detect radial motion of the ring perimeter. This radial motion can be induced by either the primary drive actuator or the Coriolis force effect, especially when the gyro is in rotation about its sensing axis – positioned through the centre of the ring.

The fusion of cutting-edge transducer technology and secondary pick-off transducers enhances the VSG’s signal-to-noise ratio. The result? An ultra-low noise device with unparalleled bias instability and Angular Random Walk (ARW) performance.

Learn about cutting-edge mems accelerometers:

Redefining high-performance inertial sensors

MEMS accelerometers are used for measuring linear movement, shock or vibration when there is no fixed reference point.

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The precision of MEMS accelerometers:

Decoding linear motion

MEMS accelerometers play a pivotal role whenever precise measurement of linear motion is essential, especially in applications without a fixed reference point. These devices gauge the linear acceleration of the object to which they are mounted. Acceleration is typically measured in m/s², however accelerometers employ ‘g’ representing units of gravity where 1g equals 9.81m/s².

The underlying principle of all accelerometers involves a mass on a spring. As the attached object accelerates, the mass tries to remain stationary due to its inertia, causing the spring to stretch or compress. This action generates a force, correlating with the applied acceleration, which is then detected by the accelerometer.

Unveiling the technology behind Silicon Sensing’s accelerometers:

Navigating Precision

Our accelerometers achieve precise linear acceleration detection, facilitated by a pair of silicon MEMS detectors featuring sprung ‘proof’ masses. Each mass serves as the moving plate within a variable capacitance, formed by an array of intricately interlaced ‘fingers.’ This design is utilised in the Gemini® MEMS dual-axis accelerometer and the MEMS CMS combi-sensor.

When linear acceleration is applied along the sensor’s sensitive axis, the proof mass resists motion, due to its own inertia. Consequently, the mass and its fingers undergo displacement relative to the fixed electrode fingers, with gas between the fingers providing a damping effect. This displacement induces a differential capacitance between the moving and fixed silicon fingers, a measure proportional to the applied acceleration.

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