In the Laboratory of Space Systems and Optomechanics (LASSO) at Texas A&M University, we focus on designing and developing inertial sensors with application in distinct fields such as gravitational-wave astronomy and space geodesy.
Our group research is centered in:
- Novel optomechanical inertial sensing technologies.
- Optical precision measurements.
- System characterization and signal processing.
LASSO members are also part of international collaborations such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antena – LISA Consortium and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory – LIGO Scientific Collaboration, where we contribute to the characterization and development of ground and space-based observatories.
The accelerometer is comprised mainly of two parts:
1. Opto-mechanical resonator
- Resonator is a core sensing element of the accelerometer vibrating at certain frequency according to acceleration.
- For our lab prototype, we have achieved test mass of 1g, total sensor mass <30 g,
- Higher the quality-factor, higher is the accelerations sensitivity. We have achieved a Q-factor up to few millions.
- We have measured displacement resolution in 10-16 m / √Hz at higher frequencies., which translates to acceleration resolution <100 ng/ √Hz over a bandwidth of 10 kHz.
- We study new materials and fabrication methods for resonators; design, model and fabricate the resonators for compact sensing technologies.
Interferometer including beam splitter, quarter wave plate & prisms
- Interferometer is type of device which uses LASER to measure test mass displacement of resonators.
- We design and fabricate compact and highly sensitive interferometers.
- Optical interferometer avoids the induction of electric signal noise that is common in accelerometers and MEMs with a capacitive electrostatic readout.
- We also work on system characterization and signal processing of the signals and noise reduction for optical precision measurements
For more information, visit research page :
- Our accelerometers are ideal for space applications due to
- Compatible materials and simple robust geometry
- Cost-effective, smaller and light weight
- Redundancy: dual test mass approach
- There are many applications for inertial sensing, particularly, low frequency inertial sensing.
- Geodesy, Gravimetry, Seismometry, quantum and fundamental physics.
- We are also implementing them in Inertial navigation system.
- Some other applications are in mineral exploration, oil & gas but certainly, underwater navigation and detection of underground structures. They give you a gravitational signal that you can measure with the instruments sensitive enough at low frequencies.
Gravitational Wave detection
Artist rendering of the Lisa Space Telescope
- Gravitational-wave detectors are one of the most sensitive devices, capable of measuring minuscule vibrations in the spacetime of the order of 10-23
- Ground and space-based observatories such as LIGO and LISA require the constant monitoring of external perturbations to their systems to acquire such great sensitivity
- Our compact, monolithic, high-sensitive accelerometers are suitable for the task of monitoring external noise or the system’s motion for its correct alignment
NASA and GFZ mission GRACE-FO
- Geodesy refers to the measurement of the shape, orientation, and gravitational field of the Earth. Space missions like InSight and GRACE-FO use highly sensitive accelerometers for geodesy-related studies.
- Our accelerometers possess sensitivities comparable to such instruments, with the advantage of being smaller and lighter.
For more information, visit applications page: