The possible use of atomic nuclei as a direction reference in inertial space.

by W. H. Culver


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A description of a proposed direction sensing device (called a nuclear magnetic gyro) as a possible means of obtaining improved accuracy and performance over conventional navigation devices. The author argues that it should be possible to use aligned atomic nuclei to replace a conventional gyro- scope as a direction reference in an inertial guidance system. Various schemes for reading out the alignment direction are discussed, including a rotating pickup coil. A superconducting shield would protect the aligned nuclei (of a helium isotope) from the disturbing effects of external magnetic fields. The fundamental physical principles and limitations of the idea are explained in the hope that this material will stimulate further research leading to the development of a successful device.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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