3D Microscale Anisotropic Metamaterials for Rotation Sensing

Technology No. 20170300

Senses Rotations along Three Axes Simultaneously

A 3-dimensional metamaterial for orientation sensing features a perfectly anisotropic transmission response and can sense rotations along all three axes simultaneously. The technology, made from biocompatible materials, consists of micro-cubes patterned with split-ring resonators (SRRs). The sensor consists of a polymer cube with a gold patterned array of split ring resonators patterned on each side. The resonators on each face of the 3D microscale cube are patterned in different sizes and at a tilt, so the arrays do not couple to each other. This intentional patterning achieves unique optical properties. The three-axis micro inclinometer (or gyro) could be integrated into a sensor package and used as an attitude sensor for micro-robotics or nanosatellites. It may sense rotation rates far exceeding limitations of current MEMs IMUs.

3D Split-Ring Resonator Senses Rotations from 0° to 360°

Traditional split-ring resonators (SRRs) are semi-isotropic, leading to 180 degree ambiguity in sensor orientation. Moreover, 2D resonators require three separate sensors for measuring rotation about the x, y, and z axes, which can create interference in their waveform. This technology is an optical inclinometer with 3D anisotropic SRR structures defined on a polymeric cube. The anisotropic 3D design overcomes the limited range of 2D SRR structures and enables the SRR to remotely sense rotations from 0° to 360° along all three axes. Adding a different tilt angle to the patterning of the resonators on each axis suppresses interference between x, y, and z resonators.


  • Perfectly anisotropic transmission response
  • Senses rotations from 0° to 360°
  • Faster speed: Rotation rates far exceed limitations of current MEMs IMUs
  • Easy, scalable and inexpensive fabrication
  • Small size and remote detection
  • Triaxial measurements


  • Small, lightweight rotation sensors
  • Low on-chip power or remotely monitored sensors
  • Angular sensor for micro-robot
  • Nanosat attitude sensor for satellite or drones
  • Magnetometer
  • Star tracker
  • GPS
  • Inclinometer
  • Rotation sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Navigation systems or small scale devices
  • Micro-robotics or nanosatellites
  • Medical microbot guidance systems
  • On-chip power saving
  • Measuring extremely high and low angular velocity

Phase of Development – Prototype device fabricated; isotropic resonant response measured

Jeong-Hyun Cho, PhD
Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
External Link (ece.umn.edu)

Three-Dimensional Anisotropic Metamaterials as Triaxial Optical Inclinometers
Nature.com Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 2680; 02 June 2017, Vol 7, Article number: 2680; 02 June 2017

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