Journal of Seismology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 595–602 | Cite as

Rotational sensors—a comparison of different sensor types

  • Felix BernauerEmail author
  • Joachim Wassermann
  • Heiner Igel
Original Article


We present laboratory tests for two types of rotational motion sensors, the liquid-based rotational seismometers type R1 and type R2 manufactured by Eentec and the closed loop fiber optic gyroscope LCG-Demonstrator by Northrop Grumman LITEF. All instruments were calibrated absolutely at different temperatures, characterization and quantification of self-noise was carried out, and a comparison with the ring laser gyroscope G from the Geodetic Observatory in Wettzell, Germany is drawn. The generator constant of the R1 varies up to 27% in the nominal operating temperature range. In the closed-loop system LCG-Demonstrator, the compensation for temperature variation works very well, and the generator constant can be seen as constant within the error bars. For both instrument types, we measured sensitivities in the order of 10 − 7 rad/s in a period range from 10 to 100 s. While this sensitivity is already sufficient for civil engineering applications, it has to be improved by at least 1 order of magnitude for applications in weak motion seismology.


Rotational seismology Instrumentation Rotational motion sensors Absolute calibration  Instrument self noise 



We would like to thank the editor of this special issue, J. R. Evans, and our two reviewers whose comments were very helpful. We would also like to thank the team of Northrop Grumman LITEF for their efficient cooperation and C. Sens-Schoenfelder for making the R2 available. This work was partially funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the project number Ig16/8.


  1. Allan DW (1966) Statistics of atomic frequency standards. Proc IEEE 54:221–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes JA (1970) Characterization of frequency stability. National Bureau of Standards Technical Note 394.
  3. Beyreuther M, Barsch R, Krischer L, Megies T, Behr Y, Wassermann J (2010) Obspy: a python toolbox for seismology. Seismol Res Lett 81:530–533. doi: 10.1785/gssrl.81.3.530 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cochard A, Igel H, Schuberth B, Suryanto W, Velikoseltsev A, Schreiber U, Wassermann J, Scherbaum F, Vollmer D (2006) Rotational motions in seismology: theory, observation, simulation. Springer, New York, pp 391–411Google Scholar
  5. Eentec (2006) Electrochemical sensor transducers.
  6. Evans JR, Followill F, Hutt CR, Kromer RP, Nigbor RL, Ringler AT, Steim JM, Wielandt E (2010) Method for calculating self-noise spectra and operating ranges for seismographic inertial sensors and recorders. Seismol Res Lett 81(4):640–646. doi: 10.1785/gssrl.81.4.640 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Graizer V (2006) Tilts in strong ground motion. Bull Seismol Soc Am 96(6):2090–2102. doi: 10.1785/0120060065 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Graizer V (2010) Strong motion recordings and residual displacements: what are we actually recording in strong motion seismology? Seismol Res Lett 81(4):635–639. doi: 10.1785/gssrl.81.4.635 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Igel H, Schreiber U, Flaws A, Schuberth B, Velikoseltsev A, Cochard A (2005) Rotational motions induced by the M8.1 Tokachi-Oki earthquake. Geophys Res Lett 32:1–5. doi: 10.1029/2004GL022336 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lin CJ, Liu CC, Lee WHK (2009) Recording rotational and translational ground motions of two TAIGER explosions in northeastern Taiwan on 4 March 2008. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99(2B):1237–1250. doi: 10.1785/0120080176 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Megies T, Beyreuther M, Barsch R, Krischer L, Wassermann J (2011) Obspy what can it do for data centers and observatories? Ann Geophys 54(1):47–58Google Scholar
  12. Nigbor RL, Evans JR, Hutt CR (2009) Laboratory and field testing of commercial rotational seismometers. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99(2):1215–1227. doi: 10.1785/0120080247 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schreiber KU, Hautmann JN, Velikoseltsev A, Wassermann J, Igel H, Otero J, Vernon F, Wells JPR (2009a) Ring laser measurements of ground rotations for seismology. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99(2B):1190–1198. doi: 10.1785/0120080171 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schreiber KU, Velikoseltsev A, Carr AJ, Franco-Anaya R (2009b) The application of fiber optic gyroscopes for the measurement of rotations in structural engineering. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99(2B):1207–1214. doi: 10.1785/0120080086 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sleeman R (2006) Three-channel correlation analysis: a new technique to measure instrumental noise of digitizers and seismic sensors. Bull Seismol Soc Am 96(1):258–271. doi: 10.1785/0120050032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Welch PD (1967) The use of fast fourier transform for the estimation of power spectra: a method based on time averaging over short, modified periodograms. IEEE Trans Audio Electroacoust AU-15:70–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Bernauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joachim Wassermann
    • 1
  • Heiner Igel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations