Hemispherical resonator gyroscope

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The Hemispherical Resonator Gyroscope (HRG), also called wine-glass gyroscope or mushroom gyro, makes using a thin solid-state hemispherical shell, anchored by a thick stem. This shell is driven to a flexural resonance by electrostatic forces generated by electrodes which are deposited directly onto separate fused-quartz structures that surround the shell. Gyroscopic effect is obtained from the inertial property of the flexural standing waves. HRG has no moving parts, is extremely reliable and very accurate.


The HRG makes using a small thin solid-state hemispherical shell, anchored by a thick stem. This shell is driven to a flexural resonance by electrostatic forces generated by electrodes which are deposited directly onto separate fused quartz structures that surround the shell.

For a single-piece design (i.e., the hemispherical shell and stem form a monolithic part) made from high-purity fused quartz, it is possible to reach Q-factor over 30-50 millions in vacuum, so, the corresponding random walks are extremely low. The Q is limited by coating (extremely thin film of gold or platinum) and by fixture losses.[1] Such resonators have to be fine-tuned by ion-beam micro-erosion of the glass or by laser ablation. When coated, tuned and assembled within the housing, the Q factor remains over 10 millions.

In application to the HRG shell, Coriolis forces cause a precession of vibration patterns around the axis of rotation. It causes a slow precession of a standing wave around this axis, with an angular rate that differs from input one. This is the wave inertia effect, discovered in 1890 by British scientist George Hartley Bryan (1864–1928).[2]

Therefore when subject to rotation around the shell symmetry axis, the standing wave does not totally rotate with the shell. The difference between both rotations is nevertheless perfectly proportional to the input rotation. The device is then able to sense rotation.

The electronics which sense the standing waves is also able to drive them. Therefore the gyros can operate in either a “whole angle mode” that sense the standing waves position or a “force rebalance mode” that holds the standing wave in a fixed orientation with respect to the gyro.


The HRG is extremely reliable because of its extremely simple hardware. It has no moving parts; its core is made of a monolithic part which includes the hemispherical shell and its stem.[3]They demonstrated outstanding reliability since their initial use in 1996.[4]

The HRG is extremely accurate and is not sensitive external environmental perturbations. The resonating shell weights only few grams and it is perfectly balanced which makes it insensitive to vibrations, accelerations and shocks.

Thanks to the extremely high Q factor of the resonating shell, the HRG has an extremely low angular random walk and extremely low power dissipation.


HRG is a very high-tech device which requires sophisticated manufacturing tools. The control electronics required to sense and drive the standing waves, is somewhat sophisticated. This high level of sophistication strongly limits the dissemination of this technology. Few manufacturers only are able to propose it on the market.

HRG are relatively expensive due to the cost of the precision ground and polished hollow quartz hemispheres. [Sagem Sagem] overcame this issue thanks to an innovative design. Electrodes are no more deposited on an internal hemisphere that matches perfectly the shape of the outer resonating hemisphere. Electrodes are deposited on a flat plate that matches the equatorial plan of the resonating hemisphere.


  1. HRG are used in space applications (satellites and spacecraft)[3]
  2. HRG are used marine maintenance-free gyrocompass[5][6] and Attitude et Heading Reference Systems[7]
  3. HRG are used in Target locators[8] and land navigation systems[6]
  4. HRG are poised to be used in Commercial Air Transport navigation systems[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sarapuloff S.A., Rhee H.-N., and Park S.-J. Avoidance of Internal Resonances in Hemispherical Resonator Assembly from Fused Quartz Connected by Indium Solder //Proceedings of the 23rd KSNVE (Korean Society for Noise & Vibration Engineering) Annual Spring Conference. Yeosu-city, 24–26 April 2013. – P.835-841.
  2. ^ Bryan G.H. On the Beats in the Vibrations of a Revolving Cylinder or Bell //Proc. of Cambridge Phil. Soc. 1890, Nov. 24. Vol.VII. Pt.III. - P.101-111.
  3. ^ a b The Hemispherical Resonator Gyro: From Wineglass to the Planets, David M. Rozelle
  4. ^ Hemispherical Resonator Gyro
  5. ^ http://www.raytheon-anschuetz.com/product-range/product-detail/69/Horizon-MF-Gyro-Compass
  6. ^ a b http://www.defenseworld.net/news/9978/Sagem_To_Highlight_Wide_Range_Of_Warfare_Products_At_Defexpo_2014#.UvgEw4V0ZGM
  7. ^ http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=721
  8. ^ www.vectronix.ch/html/en/news_press/current_news/vectronix_wins_innovation_award
  9. ^ http://www.sagem.com/spip.php?article1114


  • Lynch D.D. HRG Development at Delco, Litton, and Northrop Grumman //Proceedings of Anniversary
  • Workshop on Solid-State Gyroscopy (19–21 May 2008. Yalta, Ukraine). - Kyiv-Kharkiv. ATS of Ukraine. 2009.
  • 7th International ESA Conference on Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems. 2–5 June 2008, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
  • REGYS 20: A promising HRG-based IMU for space application L.Rosellini, JM Caron. SAGEM Defense and Security, Paris, France
  • D. Roberfroid, Y. Folope, G. Remillieux Sagem Défense Sécurité, Paris, FRANCE)) HRG and Inertial Navigation
  • Inertial Sensors and Systems – Symposium Gyro Technology 2012
  • A Carre, L Rosellini, O Prat (Sagem Défense Sécurité, Paris,France) HRG and North Finding
  • 17thSaint Petersburg International Conference on Integrated Navigation Systems 31 May – 2 June 2010, Russia