THE RING LASER INERTIAL SENSOR

Earl J. McCartney

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: THE RING LASER is a new type of inertial sensor, first announced publicly by Sperry Gyroscope Company in early 1963. Angular velocity over a dynamic range greater than 10^6 is measured by the means of two coherent light waves circulating in opposite directions around a closed optical path. Velocity measurements are possible with a resolution of better than 1 arc-second/second. The angular velocity output data appear directly as a pulse train of proportional frequency. In conjunction with a digital counter, the ring laser is a rate or integrating device. Ring laser operation depends entirely upon optical, atomic, and electric phenomena. This unique sensor has no rotating mass, no sensitive element which must be torqued, no mechanical null point, no output axis and no problems of mass unbalance. Further, there is no response to linear velocity or acceleration, or to angular acceleration. Inertial systems of striking simplicity are possible. Fig. 1 shows a ring laser sensor hard-mounted to a space vehicle for inertial navigation and attitude reference.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 13, Number 3
Pages: 260 - 269
Cite this article: McCartney, Earl J., "THE RING LASER INERTIAL SENSOR", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 13, No. 3, Fall 1966, pp. 260-269.
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