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We report a new family of ultra high- Q silicon microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) tuning fork gyroscopes demonstrating angular rate and, for the first time, rate integrating (whole angle) operation. The novel mechanical architecture maximizes the Q-factor and minimizes frequency and damping mismatches. We demonstrated the vacuum packaged SOI dual and quadruple mass gyroscopes with Q-factors of 0.64 and 0.86 million at 2 kHz operational frequency, respectively. Due to the stiffness and damping symmetry, the quadruple mass gyroscope was instrumented to measure the angle of rotation directly, eliminating the bandwidth and dynamic range limitations of conventional MEMS vibratory rate gyroscopes. The technology may enable silicon micromachined devices for inertial guidance applications previously limited to precision-machined quartz hemispherical resonator gyroscopes.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2011