A gravity sensor is a device that detects changes in the density of rocks, minerals, or other substances in the earth’s gravity. The latest innovation in gravity sensing is the quantum gravity sensor. By exploiting the quantum behavior of atoms, it can detect underground features with more detailed information than ever before.
What is Gravity Sensing?
Gravity exerts roughly the same amount of force everywhere on Earth’s surface. However, small differences in gravitational force occur due to different densities of rocks and other materials underground and different heights above the surface.
If this gravity sensitivity is accurate enough, its use in research and industry will be more effective. Micro-sized gravimeters can be deployed in networks to sense the motion of magma in volcanic regions. That helps researchers understand magma flow patterns before eruptions. Researchers use gravity sensors to map changes in the planet’s crust caused by large-scale geological activity, such as the melting of glaciers or earthquakes.
Gravimeters are instruments used to measure these small changes in the Earth’s gravitational force. Generally, gravimeters operate according to one of two main operating systems. It can be measured by measuring the time it takes a free-falling object to fall a certain distance, or by measuring the extension of the free end of a spring due to a weight hanging on a spring. This gravity sensor could be sensitive enough to track so-called Earth tides. However, gravimeters are generally expensive. Its price is more than one hundred thousand dollars. Also big and heavy.
Quantum Gravity Sensing
UK scientists have developed a gravity-sensitive sensor capable of detecting 0.5m2m2 tunnels below the surface and collecting 40 data per hour.
Such a quantum gravity sensor could be used in numerous industries and research. Civil engineers can measure underground structures such as tunnels, sinkholes, and mine shafts to improve construction surveys and infrastructure projects. Archaeologists can likewise use this technology to find underground sites of interest without damaging the sites or any objects hidden there. Scientists are now working on developing a backpack-sized quantum gravity sensor that can be easily transported.