DARPA commissions MEMS from Northrop Grumman, GA Tech: New fab process underway

May 18, 2011 – GLOBE NEWSWIRE — Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, will develop a new type of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) gyroscope technology for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Microscale Rate Integrating Gyroscope program.

Utilizing a new MEMS fabrication process, the Northrop Grumman-led team will produce a proof-of-concept micro gyro that can perform as well as current silicon MEMS devices in a smaller size, lighter weight, and lower power package.

"The Northrop Grumman and Georgia Tech team will [enable] the extreme miniaturization of highly stable navigation devices, with small energy dissipation," said Farrokh Ayazi, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Georgia Tech. Dr. Ayazi is a principal investigator for this project and serves as co-director for ECE’s Center for MEMS and Microsystems Technology.

The MEMS technology developed by Northrop Grumman and Georgia Tech during the initial 12-month award period will form the basis for a micro resonator gyro capable of achieving navigation-grade performance. The new MEMS fab process will enable gyros for unmanned vehicles to handheld devices, Charles Volk, vice president and chief technology officer of Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems Division.

DARPA’s Microscale Rate Integrating Gyroscope program seeks to develop miniature navigation-grade gyros for use in personal navigation, unmanned vehicle navigation, GPS denied/challenged locations, and other size and power constrained applications requiring precision navigation. Northrop Grumman, in partnership with Georgia Tech, was awarded a research and development contract for the preliminary design, development and testing of micro-resonator devices.

Northrop Grumman produces navigation products using fiber-optic gyro-based systems, Northrop Grumman’s exclusive hemispherical resonator gyro, unique ZLG gyros, spinning mass gyros, ring laser gyros and micro-electro-mechanical-system gyros, among other technologies. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute. www.gatech.com

Also read: Introduction to MEMS gyroscopes


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