This technology can reveal everything that hides underground

Researchers have managed to locate a tunnel under a meter of earth. Using a quantum gravity gradiometer. A technology that shows itself, for the first time, capable of leaving the laboratory and coming into contact with the realities on the ground.

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A quantum gravity gradiometer. Funny term. For a funny machine. A gradiometer is a device intended to measure in space the gradient of a quantity physical. A gravity gradiometer therefore measures variations in gravity. And in the case of a quantum gravity gradiometer, the measurement is done by exploiting the principles of quantum physics. Thanks to a sensor which measures changes in gravity when a cloud ofatoms grave.

Vibrations, tilting of instruments and disturbances caused by magnetic fields and outdoor thermals have long confined technology to the laboratory. But today, University of Birmingham researchers (United Kingdom) announce that they have managed to attenuate these different noises and have found a practical application for the quantum gravity gradiometer. With its help, they detected a tunnel buried one meter below the surface by measuring microgravity variations.

A number of applications in various fields

The researchers estimate that their quantum gravity gradiometer will in the future make surveys cheaper and ten times faster than with conventional sensors. All with increased accuracy and reliability.

The applications envisaged are numerous. Defense and security applications, for example. Since such measures of microgravity could make it possible to reveal the undetectable and thus, to move serenely, including in difficult environments.

The quantum gravity gradiometer could also revolutionize the way we design, build and maintain our homes and infrastructure. It could help identify natural resources — or built structures hidden underground — or even improve the prediction of phenomena such as volcanic eruptions.

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