DARPA’s Chip-Scale Combinatorial Atomic Navigator (C-SCAN) effort seeks an atomic inertial sensor to measure orientation in GPS-denied environments. Such a sensor would integrate small size, low power consumption, high resolution of motion detection and a fast start up time into a single package.
“Platforms such as missiles rely on GPS for a variety of information,” explained Andre Shkel, DARPA
program manager. “When GPS is not available gyroscopes provide orientation, accelerometers provide position and oscillators provide timing. The new C-SCAN effort focuses on replacing bulky gyroscopes with a new inertial measurement unit (IMU) that is smaller, less expensive due to foundry fabrication and yields better performance.”
The inertial measurement unit sought by C-SCAN will co-integrate both solid state and atomic inertial sensors
into a single microsystem. This new IMU would benefit from devices with dissimilar physics, yet complementary characteristics: short startup times, and long-term, stable performance.
Before C-SCAN can be built, research is needed to explore the miniaturization and co-fabrication of atomic sensors with solid-state inertial sensors. Algorithms and architectures are sought to seamlessly co-integrate the components. Those wishing to participate in the C-SCAN effort are encouraged to review the full solicitation located at http://www.fbo.gov.