Abstract

Precision guidance in navigation systems requires highly accurate, compact, and low cost inertial measurement units (IMUs). The key active guided-wave component of the IMU is the phase modulator. In our approach, electro-optic polymers have been utilized in fabricating low loss phase modulators with low half-wave drive voltage using advanced hybrid waveguide fabrication processes and novel optical integration techniques. However, the interference between the primary wave and the backscatter waves generated by the phase modulator and/or the interference between the two counter-propagating backscatter waves at the detector of the IMU has been a major source of error in this approach. A novel technique was introduced in assessing the error caused by backscatter and an offset waveguide design was developed to suppress the interference of backscatter light. The novel design not only preserved the miniaturization, but also improved the insertion loss with the use of a shorter waveguide. The gyro level tests performed with the backscatter compensated modulators showed about 5 times improvement of the average bias uncertainty over gyros integrated with a standard symmetric phase modulator.

© 2009 IEEE

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