OSCP is designing and manufacturing a range of proprietary, high-performance Silicon Photonics based motion sensors. OSCP's motion sensors are based upon Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) and Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) technology and measure the acceleration and rotation of an object.
An accelerometer is a device that can measure static (gravity) or dynamic (motion or vibration) acceleration forces. The main applications requiring accelerometers can be categorized as inertial or tilt sensing, vibration, and seismic.
A MEMS rate sensor is a family of MEMS gyroscopes (Coriolis Vibratory) that measures the angular rate of a rotating object. In the in-plane detection case, a suspended mass is excited in one dimension and the vibration in the perpendicular direction is induced by the rotation due to the Coriolis force. However, such MEMS gyros are intrinsically noisy with low performance due to having moving parts. OSCP's PIC gyros have no moving parts and therefore have significantly better performance and reliability as compared to MEMS gyroscopes.
The most important advantages of optical motion sensors compared to electrical ones (capacitive technology) are:
or generally, resistivity to aggressive/harsh environments. For instance, they can work underwater. They also show higher performance and therefore lower signal noise and bias drift.
In terms of integration, the advantage is that multiple sensors can be integrated on the same chip (using optical waveguides), allowing to extend the measurement range and accuracy.
This also provides essential redundancy which makes long-term reliability, therefore reducing the possibility of system failure. The end product exhibits orders of magnitude reduction in system mass and size.
This is specifically a remarkable advantage for applications where the system is limited to mass, volume and power consumption.
Electronics-based devices have become smaller, faster, and more efficient. However, miniaturization has reached its limit of heat dissipation in the copper wiring and interconnects. Using photons instead of electrons and optical fibers instead of copper cabling solves this problem.
Until a few years ago, photonics technology meant replacing wires with fiber one for one, requiring additional expensive and bulky converters. But now integrating micro-photonics and electronic components at the chip level enables a single fiber (that is coupled to the chip) to transport all the information.
According to marketsandmarkets.com "When compared with conventional electronics, silicon photonics provides 90% of its efficiency with one-third the power consumption at one-tenth of the cost."
Optical MEMS or MOEMS (Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology potentially eliminates the transformative restrictions of electronics technology, leading to much faster data transmission speeds and greater bandwidth.
OSCP's PIC based IMUs use optical waveguides to integrate accelerometer MOEMS components with the micro-photonic elements of our gyroscopes.
Wherever possible, OSCP seeks to fully integrate all optical components into the PIC chip, for reduced size, weight, and power consumption, as well as elimination of assembly costs. This will enhance system reliability and reduce optical loss, thereby increasing device sensitivity.