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Open-File Report 2014–1047

A Brief Test of the Hewlett-Packard MEMS Seismic Accelerometer

By Brian D. Homeijer, Donald J. Milligan, and Charles R. Hutt

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.2 MB)Abstract

Testing was performed on a prototype of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) seismic accelerometer at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory. This prototype was built using discrete electronic components. The self-noise level was measured during low seismic background conditions and found to be 9.8 ng/√Hz at periods below 0.2 s (frequencies above 5 Hz). The six-second microseism noise was also discernible. The HP MEMS accelerometer was compared to a Geotech Model GS-13 reference seismometer during seismic noise and signal levels well above the self-noise of the accelerometer. Matching power spectral densities (corrected for accelerometer and seismometer responses to represent true ground motion) indicated that the HP MEMS accelerometer has a flat (constant) response to acceleration from 0.0125 Hz to at least 62.5 Hz. Tilt calibrations of the HP MEMS accelerometer verified that the flat response to acceleration extends to 0 Hz.

Future development of the HP MEMS accelerometer includes replacing the discreet electronic boards with a low power application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and increasing the dynamic range of the sensor to detect strong motion signals above one gravitational acceleration, while maintaining the self-noise observed during these tests.

First posted April 8, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Geologic Hazards Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Denver Federal Center
PO Box 25046 MS-966
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Homeijer, B.D., Milligan, D.J., and Hutt, C.R., 2014, A Brief Test of the Hewlett-Packard MEMS Seismic Accelerometer: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1047, 18 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)



1. Introduction

2. MEMS Accelerometer

3. Tests Performed

4. Summary

5. References

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