The overall objective set for this SBIR project is developing and demonstrating a Photonic Crystal Fiber (PCF)-based FOG sensor with <2 cubic inch volume that can ultimately be packaged into a full Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) with < 28 cubic inch volume delivering high-end TG performance, or an IMU with a volume < 80 cubic inches for NG and high accuracy performance, as well as evaluating a drastically miniaturized, high density electronics package with form factors ultimately consistent with radiation hard (RH) components packaged small volume as may be required for NASA's smaller satellites and/or long life spacecraft missions. NASA applications include space missions, from High Earth Orbits (HEO) to lunar and beyond Earth exploration, such as asteroids, wherever measurement and correction of attitude, position, velocity and acceleration and/or accurate pointing performance are needed for, e.g., spacecraft formation flying and autonomous rendezvous with asteroid, space-based laser applications, high accuracy pointing systems for space telescope platforms, and the new generation of small satellites.
Applications range from rate sensors and gyros used in commercial avionics to navigational inertial reference and measurement units needed for commercial small satellites and landing spacecraft, to gas and oil applications such as measurement-while-drilling (MWD) deployed in horizontal directional drilling. The proposed work will significantly benefit the commercial aviation industry as well as sensor arrays for medical applications and homeland security robotic disarming of bombs. Reducing the size, weight, power (and cost of these sensors and improving robustness against harsh environmental risk factors - all without loss of performance - is also critical for many advanced interceptor and satellite platforms that are of interest to DOD and advanced aerospace applications.