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A Tracking Device That Fits on the Head of a Pin

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Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers have developed nano-sized optical gyroscopes that can fit on standard-sized computer chips without compromising their sensitivity. The gyroscopes can pick up smaller rotation rates and create higher accuracy while maintaining smaller dimensions, says TAU professor Koby Scheuer.

The key to the device are extremely small semiconductor lasers. As the device rotates, the properties of the light produced by the lasers change, which makes determining the rotation rates possible. The lasers are a few tens-of-micrometers in diameter, while conventional gyroscopes measure about six to eight inches, Scheuer says. "Conventional gyroscopes look like a box, and weigh two or three pounds," he says. "This is fine for an airplane, but if you're trying to fit a gyroscope onto a smaller piece of technology, such as a cell phone, the accuracy will be severely limited."

Nano-gyroscopes integrated into cell phones could provide a better tracking function than existing global positioning systems, and the technology also could be incorporated into medical equipment, Scheuer says.

From American Friends of Tel Aviv University
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