American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics3
II. MEMS gyroscopes development in Europe
A. European actors and related technologies
One of the most well-known space-qualified microgyroscopes, flying on Integral, Smart-1 and expected to fly onHerschel-Planck, is the Systron Donner Quartz Rate Sensor (QRS), relying on a quartz double tuning fork, withpiezoelectric excitation and detection. It is built by etching the structures from single-crystal quartz wafers QRS.ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) restrictions risk and limited performances of such a device,combined with the technical breakthrough in fabrication techniques with silicon (replacing the quartz), resulted inthe necessity of initiating the development of a European MEMS rate sensor.As detailed in Table 1, several European companies currently develop or manufacture terrestrial MEMS ratesensors, with various characteristics depending on the sensor structure (vibrating beams, vibrating plates, tuningforks and vibrating shells) and the excitation / detection mechanisms (piezoresistive, piezoelectric, capacitive,inductive or electrostatic).
Company Country Name Technology, mechanisms
BAE Systems UK SiRRS-01 All-silicon vibrating shell, inductive excitation and detection, biasrepeatability around 0.1 deg/sBosch Germany Poly-silicon tuning fork of vibrating plates, inductive excitation anddetectionEADS CRC Germany Tuning fork, with piezoelectric excitation and piezoresistive detectionHSG-IMIT Germany All-silicon vibrating plates, electrostatic excitation, capacitive detection,short term drift around 25 deg/hLitef Germany
CORS-2All-silicon tuning fork of vibrating plates, electrostatic excitation,capacitive detectionSagem SA France Star Two-axis, capacitive detectionSensoNor Norway SAR10 All-silicon vibrating plates, electrostatic excitation, capacitive detection,noise density around 0.013 deg/s/
HzThales France Gyrosil All-silicon, short term drift around 40 deg/h
Table 1. European MEMS rate sensor main manufacturers
Performances are provided as they appear in the sensors’ datasheet and are given to get a rough order of magnitude of the MEMS features. However, it is worth mentioning at this point that drift, bias stability, biasinstability, and thermal sensitivity are not addressed the same way by the various MEMS gyro manufacturers.Therefore, such performances cannot be compared as is, and require to be confirmed through characterizationtesting.
B. Reliability testing
Reliability testing has been performed on a small quantity of BAE Systems SiRRS-01
devices, under ESAcontract.
The batch of devices underwent a complete reliability testing campaign performed by CNES, includingthermal cycling, thermal shocks, thermal vacuum, vibration, shock, humidity testing. Between each test, basicperformance characterization allows detecting any anomaly, such as fracture or delaminating. As shown in Fig. 2,most of the initial bias and scale factor characterizations, performed by EADS Astrium SAS, exhibit similar resultsas the ones predicted in SiRRS-01 datasheet, e.g. for bias and scale factor thermal sensitivity.