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An Investigation of the Deleterious Effects of High Power, High Frequency Acoustic Noise on MEMS Gyroscopes
Keywords: MEMS, Gyroscope, Acoustic
Micromachined gyroscopic sensors are increasingly replacing traditional gyroscopic sensors, due to their smaller size, lower cost and lower power requirements. These benefits have opened the door for many new applications, such as motion sensing and control of rotating machinery; automotive anti-roll systems; Segway transporters and other consumer products; and small aerospace vehicles. Although many of these operating environments are rather benign, several of the more harsh environments possess characteristics that can adversely affect the performance of MEMS gyroscopes. The susceptibility of MEMS gyroscopes to mechanical shock and high frequency vibrations has been observed and investigated in recent years. However, another characteristic of some harsh environments that can adversely affect the performance of MEMS gyroscopes is high frequency, high power acoustic noise. Some example harsh environments that can posses this characteristic include supersonic aerospace vehicles, machines that utilize high pressure nozzles, underwater applications and some audio systems. Similar to the effects of high frequency vibration transmitted to the MEMS gyroscope through the chassis, high frequency acoustic energy can be transmitted to the MEMS device through contact between the device package and the surrounding fluid through which the acoustic energy is being transmitted. Acoustic energy frequency components that are close to the natural frequency of the electromechanical structure in the MEMS gyroscope can produce undesirable motion of the sensor proof mass, resulting in corruption in the angular rate measurement. The effects of high frequency, high power acoustic noise on the performance of MEMS gyroscopes have been characterized and mitigation strategies have been developed.
Robert Dean, Assistant Research Professor
Auburn University
Auburn, AL

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