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Title: (abstract) A Miniature, High-Sensitivity, Electron-Tunneling Accelerometer
Authors: Gabrielson, Thomas B.
Rockstad, Howard K.
Tang, Tony K.
Issue Date: 28-Nov-1994
Citation: Austin, Texas
Abstract: A prototype low-noise accelerometer has been fabricated with an electron-tunneling transducer. By measuring the tunneling current between an electrode on the proof mass and a feedback-controlled monitor electrode, very small accelerations can be detected with high responsivity. This particular prototype (10x10x1.5 mm) was designed for underwater acoustic measurement from a few hertz to 1 kHz. The measured responsivity below the fundamental device resonance at 100 Hz is roughly 1500 volts per m/s<SUP>2</SUP> with a measured noise spectral density of 10<SUP>-6</SUP> m/s<SUP>2</SUP> per root hertz or less between 30 and 300 Hz. The noise floor is controlled primarily by 1/f noise in the tunneling current although the noise floor reaches the theoretical molecular-agitation limit at 100 hertz. The responsivity and directivity of the device were measured in a standard gradient-hydrophone calibrator; the noise floor was determined in a vacuum-ionization chamber assembled from commercial off-the-shelf components; and the detailed dynamics of the proof-mass motion were examined using a heterodyne laser interferometer that was scanned across the surface and synchronously detected with respect to the excitation.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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