31 May 1996 Development of a small gravity gradiometer for the detection of buried objects
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Abstract
A gradiometer based on a microwave sapphire resonator is currently under development at the Applied Physics Laboratory. Its principle of operation is based on measurements of classical spring-proof mass displacements, which are converted to phase shifts in the output signal of a sapphire microwave resonator transducer. A prototype accelerometer used in the gradiometer has already demonstrated a figure-of-merit sensitivity [Q/(df/dx)] of 3.9 X 102 MHz/micrometers . The proposed design of the gradiometer we detail in this paper focuses on producing a simpler and more compact instrument. Results of a theoretical study on its ability to detect buried objects are also discussed. The problem of detection is challenging because of the instability of the downward continuation of a discrete set of surface gravity gradient measurements. Thus, detection capability depends on the size and density of the grid of measurements as well as the mass and depth of the buried object. Strategies for optimizing data collection and analysis are presented. Gradiometer is potentially useful in detecting buried objects such as mines since it is a totally passive measurement system which does not have to contact the ground directly. However, since the gravity gradient of a point mass decreases as a function of the cube of the distance, there is a strong advantage in having the instrument and the buried object as close to each other as possible.
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Joseph J. Suter, Paul A. Zucker, A. L. Line, "Development of a small gravity gradiometer for the detection of buried objects", Proc. SPIE 2765, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets, (31 May 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.241233; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.241233
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