6 most common types of optical gyroscopes

Learn about the 6 most common types of optical gyroscopes used in navigation, aerospace, defense, and consumer electronics. Advantages and applications covered.


Optical gyroscopes, also known as rotation sensors, are used to detect the rotation of an object. These devices are essential components of modern navigation systems, aerospace, and defense technology. Optical gyroscopes are designed to measure the rotation of an object without relying on any external reference.

Gyroscopes work on the principle of the conservation of angular momentum, which states that the angular momentum of a body remains constant unless an external torque acts upon it. Optical gyroscopes are an important type of gyroscopes that use light to detect rotational motion. These gyroscopes are commonly used in a variety of applications, including navigation, aerospace, and military.

The 6 Most Common Types of Optical Gyroscopes

There are several types of optical gyroscopes, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Here are the six most common types of optical gyroscopes:

1. Fiber-Optic Gyroscopes (FOGs)

Fiber-optic gyroscopes (FOGs) are the most widely used type of optical gyroscopes. They use a coil of optical fiber to detect rotational motion. The fiber is wound around a sensitive axis, and a beam of light is passed through the fiber. The light beam is split into two parts and sent in opposite directions through the fiber. When the fiber is rotated, the two light beams will experience different transit times, resulting in a phase shift between the two beams. This phase shift is measured and used to calculate the rate of rotation.

2. Ring Laser Gyroscopes (RLGs)

Ring laser gyroscopes (RLGs) use a closed loop of laser beams to detect rotational motion. The beams are directed around a square or triangular path, and the phase difference