SPACE GEODESY & PLANET EXPLORATION
- Geodesy refers to measurement of the shape, orientation, and gravitational field of the Earth.
- Having size, weight, and power (SWaP) characteristics compatible with compact spacecraft platforms such as CubeSats, miniaturized accelerometers are a promising technology for compact, cost-effective inertial sensing with observation continuity.
- Objective: Develop and improve the design of compact micro-fabricated optomechanical accelerometers for use in future GRACE-like mass change missions to a technology readiness level (TRL) of 4-5.
- Current research :
- Using low loss materials, LASSO is developing monolithic optomechemical acceleration sensors with high sensitivities at low frequencies (10-13 m/ at 2 mHz to 10-15 m/ at 100 Hz).
- These sensors are capable of achieving an acceleration noise floor of 410-11 m s-2 with a high mechanical quality factor (above Qm = 120,000).
- We are conducting characterization and performance measurements to check our existing models.
- We are also developing and testing packaging of these accelerometers for a space flight instrument prototype that preserves the high mechanical quality factor.