Civil Engineering

Quantum gravimeters leaving the laboratory

8th July 2016
The Quantum Technology Hub gravity sensing team from the University of Birmingham.

The Gravity Sensing team from the University of Birmingham has made successful outdoor measurements with their quantum gravimeter for the first time. The quantum gravimeter, designed and built in the labs at Birmingham, represents a significant step forward in developing robust quantum technologies for use in real-world environments. The technique of gravity mapping is already used by civil engineers for carrying out surveys – such as on brownfield sites – and detecting underground features. The Gravity Imager is intended to provide higher sensitivity and reliability for such applications, while also drastically reducing measurement time through enhancing the robustness to external noise sources. These first outdoor measurements of gravity represent a step along the way to starting full field trials.

The Gravity Sensing team works within the Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology, part the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. The quantum gravimeter has been designed and built as part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Gravity Imager project. The current measurement campaign has been performed in conjunction with Birmingham’s Civil Engineering team and the Innovate UK Sigma project, a collaboration between RSK and the University of Birmingham.