Fundamental Noise Limits for Miniature Acoustic and Vibration Sensors

[+] Author and Article Information
T. B. Gabrielson

NAWC Aircraft Division, Code MS07 Warminster, PA 18974

J. Vib. Acoust 117(4), 405-410 (Oct 01, 1995) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2874471 History: Received February 01, 1994; Online February 26, 2008


Recent technological advances in microfabrication and fiber optics have made practical the construction of very small, sensitive sensors for acoustic or vibration measurements. As the sensitivity is increased or the size is decreased, a sensor becomes more susceptible to mechanical noise resulting from molecular agitation. Traditional noise analysis is often focused exclusively on electrical or optical noise; consequently, mechanical-thermal noise may not be considered in new types of sensors until the prototype testing reveals an unexpectedly high noise floor. Fortunately, mechanical-thermal noise is relatively easy to estimate early in the design process because the equivalent noise force is only a function of the temperature and the mechanical losses in the sensor There are a number of specific techniques that are applicable for evaluating either the total mechanical-thermal noise or the spectral distribution of that noise for simple or complex sensors. These techniques are presented and, in addition, a summary of other noise components is given in the context of design guidelines for high-sensitivity sensors.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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