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Active Research Projects

Inertial Sensor Development
The M’Closkey Lab develops miniature high performance angular rate sensors called vibratory gyroscopes. While vibratory gyro technology is not new, the ultimate goal is the production of a low power, lower cost sensor that has navigation-grade performance. Current prototype sensors have achieved sub-0.1 degree/hr bias instability, but to push the technology development further requires a fundamental understanding of the sources of rate bias within the sensor.¬† We have developed novel experimental facilities and modeling algorithms to reveal and quantify many bias sources, which include resonator thermal stability, electrical-thermal noise, mechanical-thermal noise, and resonator susceptibility to vibration. We are also pioneering wafer-level post-fabrication techniques to permanently modify the resonator dynamics to a more favorable state than what can be achieved with current MEMS fabrication technology. Current sponsors for this work are the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, Office of Naval Research, and Boeing Research and Technology.

Flow Control
A separate long-term project seeks to understand the mixing dynamics of a jet injected into a crossflow. Improved mixing between the fluids would enable a host of applications such as turbine blade cooling and increased combustion efficiency. Experiments with pulsed jets can provide insight into the mixing mechanisms and provide a basis for numerical modeling and analysis. One challenge to creating a precisely prescribed temporal jet velocity profile, though, is the nonlinear dynamics of the jet actuation system. Working with colleagues in the fluid mechanics field, we have developed a test apparatus and attendant control algorithms that provide unprecedented control over the jet profile thereby enabling basic experiments in flow visualization. The National Science Foundation supports this research.


Past Research Projects
Past research interests include the analysis and design of controllers for driftless nonlinear systems, which naturally arise in systems with nonholonomic kinematic contraints, design and analysis of low phase noise quartz oscillators, and applications of robust control techniques to aircraft control.