Letter | Published:

Nanophotonic optical gyroscope with reciprocal sensitivity enhancement

Nature Photonicsvolume 12pages671675 (2018) | Download Citation


Optical gyroscopes measure the rate of rotation by exploiting a relativistic phenomenon known as the Sagnac effect1,2. Such gyroscopes are great candidates for miniaturization onto nanophotonic platforms3,4. However, the signal-to-noise ratio of optical gyroscopes is generally limited by thermal fluctuations, component drift and fabrication mismatch. Due to the comparatively weaker signal strength at the microscale, integrated nanophotonic optical gyroscopes have not been realized so far. Here, we demonstrate an all-integrated nanophotonic optical gyroscope by exploiting the reciprocity of passive optical networks to significantly reduce thermal fluctuations and mismatch. The proof-of-concept device is capable of detecting phase shifts 30 times smaller than state-of-the-art miniature fibre-optic gyroscopes, despite being 500 times smaller in size. Thus, our approach is capable of enhancing the performance of optical gyroscopes by one to two orders of magnitude.

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The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Change history

  • 28 January 2019

    In the version of this Letter originally published, in equation (1), ‘n’ should not have been included. Accordingly, in the sentence following equation (1), the definition “n is the refractive index of the medium” should not have been included. In addition, the authors should have declared the following competing interest: “P.P.K. and A.H. have filed a patent application (Integrated optical gyroscope with noise cancellation, US patent application US 15/993,525; 13 December 2018).” These corrections have been made in the online versions.

  • 19 October 2018

    In the version of this Letter originally published online, a ‘7’ was mistakenly included at the beginning of the second line of equation (4); it has now been removed.


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The authors thank A. Khachaturian, B. Hong and B. Abiri for technical discussions.

Author information


  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

    • Parham P. Khial
    • , Alexander D. White
    •  & Ali Hajimiri


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P.P.K. and A.H. conceived and designed the device. Simulations and measurements were performed by P.P.K. and A.D.W. Analysis of the results was carried out by P.P.K., A.D.W. and A.H. All authors participated in writing the manuscript.

Competing interests

P.P.K. and A.H. have filed a patent application (Integrated optical gyroscope with noise cancellation, US patent application US 15/993,525; 13 December 2018).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Parham P. Khial.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary derivations and discussion, Supplementary Figures 1–4 and Supplementary References 1–3

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