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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R023352/1
Title: Gravity Platform
Principal Investigator: Holynski, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Bongs, Professor K
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 574,122
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The opportunity that this project addresses is the use of quantum based gravity sensors to detect buried assets or structures. It combines three streams of challenges currently faced for the development of such sensor: Gathering of real field data, development of a sensor platform for data gathering in realistic terrain conditions and the quantum technologies knowledge transfer from academia to industry. Larger market opportunities have been identified which require the sensor to be mounted on a more specialist platform to give accurate tilt alignment and vibration damping. This platform will realise faster measurement times in the civil engineering market and operation in difficult terrain such as agricultural fields for soil compaction measurements. Reveal identified the civil engineering market as the first viable market for QT gravity sensors. Though the capabilities of a QT gravity instrument will bring a great improvement in the detectability of assets and structures in the ground, this market is very price sensitive. Currently the costs of a survey are dominated by personnel time rather than the instrument cost and this is driven by the total time of each survey. This project will reduce set-up time at each measurement location by the development of a specialist platform. Additionally further markets, such as mine shaft detection, Canal & Reservoir embankments, precision agriculture and defence applications, have been identified to expand the market. All these sectors have varying terrain requirements and a QT gravity sensor will only have the ability to fully penetrate these markets with a tailored platform.

An additional need this project addresses is the crucial feedback of information gathered from on-site trials of QT gravity sensors under realistic conditions. The current programs at University of Birmingham and Teledyne e2v are currently constrained by the limited number of operational instruments. These sensors are desperately required for on-site trials and external demonstrations by partners, such as RSK, a civil engineering company, but at the same time are required by the development teams to continue improvements towards increasing the measurement sensitivity. The sensor and platform developed in this project will incorporate the current development status of the sensor, but will be aimed at increasing instrument availability for site trials, demonstrations and showcases to drive dissemination and market pull.

As the QT sensor development is a very new activity for industry, experts in this field are rare. This project will co-locate up to two Teledyne e2v employees at the University of Birmingham Technology Transfer Centre. During and after this project it will bring the much required domain knowledge to Teledyne e2v.

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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk