A new type of hollow-core optical fibre makes light-based gyroscopes up to 500 times more stable by eliminating sources of noise. If optimized, devices based on these so-called nodeless anti-resonant fibres could find use in next-generation civil navigation systems.
Fibre-optic gyroscopes (FOGs) rely on a pair of laser beams travelling in opposite directions around the same fibre-optic coil. If the reference frame of the beams is not inertial – that is, if the gyroscope is rotating – the beam travelling counter to the direction of the rotation will experience a slightly shorter path. This path-shortening phenomenon is known as the Sagnac effect, and when the two light beams are made to interfere, their interference signal can be used to calculate the difference in path length. This, in turn, shows how the gyroscope (or the vehicle upon which it is mounted) changed its orientation.
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