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The major advantages of a fiber optic gyroscope over mechanical devices include: no moving parts, no warm-up time, unlimited shelf life, minimal maintenance, large dynamic range, and small size. Fiber optic gyroscopes are used broadly in inertial navigation systems, and tactical and strategic missiles. New applications are emerging, such as in oil well drilling. The scope of applications is quite broad with a wide range of specifications. Figure 17.1 graphically shows the various applications in relation to the required dynamic range and sensitivity. As an example, aircraft navigation gyroscopes have requirements of 0.1 to 0.001 deg/hr. The earth's rotation rate, ΩE = 15 deg/hr. Therefore, aircraft navigation needs expressed in earth's rotation rate are l0-2 to 10-4ΩE. Geophysical applications require detection of rotation rates at 10-6ΩE. All optical rotation sensors are based on the Sagnac effect, which is described in Chapter 4.
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