Navy

Innovative Beam Design for Fiber Laser Accelerometer Vector & Pressure Sensors

A small, high sensitivity, fiber laser accelerometer vector sensor featuring an innovative lever arm beam enabling sensitivity at the hundreds of femtostrain level

Photonics
The US Navy has developed an innovative lever arm “flapper” design at the core of an inexpensive, highly sensitive laser accelerometer

The US Navy has developed an innovative lever arm “flapper” design at the core of an inexpensive, highly sensitive laser accelerometer

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (NUWC Newport) has developed, tested, and patented a unique beam design to maximize transducer sensitivity to acceleration from a desired direction while minimizing cross axis sensitivity from the orthogonal direction. The crux of the design is a series of lever arm “flappers” inclined at approximately 45 degrees. Vertical acceleration causes the inertial mass of the flappers to bend downward and inward, relieving the strain on the center bridge and the fiber at that position. Connecting a fiber laser to this rigid, low-mass lever arm design enables the fiber laser to experience greater displacement than the center of mass. The result is increasing sensitivity to bandwidth tradeoff.

The innovative lever arm transducer was fabricated from a photopolymer by photolithography for use in 5- and 10-kHz erbium fiber laser sensor designs. Sensitivity at the hundreds of femtostrain level has been achieved. Additional improvements are anticipated with further design modification and material optimization. The sensor device represents an inexpensive approach to high sensitivity on a single axis. Utilizing a second device in a different orientation can create a system that accurately measures movement in both axes. Multiple sensors can be strung together and multiplexed to enable longer devices.

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