REVEAL

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

REVEAL is a collaboration between e2v, RSK, Gooch Housego (G&H) and the University of Birmingham (UoB) to develop and trial the first commercial prototype QT gravity gradiometer sensor. It builds on the successful InnovateUK SIGMA/SIGMA+ & FreezeRay/FreezeRay2 projects. SIGMA/SIGMA+ have already developed tools (forward models, improved understanding of noise sources) to provide a more informed assessment of the detectability of targets of interest to their clients. The FreezeRay projects have already enabled e2v and Gooch & Housego to develop sub-systems for quantum gravimeters based on UoB knowledge and expertise. The specific developments within the FreezeRay projects have enabled the consortium to develop the core systems required for a quantum sensor. REVEAL will, for the first time, build an industrial gravity gradiometer prototype based on the knowledge gained at the UoB and through IUK projects and place it in the hands of an expert geophysical surveying company. This is the next logical step for the route to market of these instruments. As well as opening access to the QT research market, this primarily provides a direction towards the creation of a commercial QT supply chain in the UK - aiming to enhance the uptake by industry, and alongside demonstrations, create market growth and wealth creation.

To achieve the aim of a first commercial QT gravity gradiometer prototype, REVEAL will focus on the following key steps: 1) Development of ruggedized laser and control systems, 2) Creation of a sensor platform including a vacuum system, 3) System integration into a mobile, transportable unit suitable for civil engineering applications, 4) Knowledge transfer from UoB to e2v and G&H for the sensor requirements and 5) Field trials and survey optimisation to feed back into the sensor development requirements and benchmark against existing geophysical systems.

REVEAL will accelerate the commercialisation of QT gravity instruments in two ways: 1) ensuring that the sensor development and system engineering efforts produces instruments that are fit for purpose by providing sensor configuration and performance parameters, 2) increasing the marketplace for the sensors by engagement with the client base, excellent dissemination activities, and practical field demonstrations of prototype equipment capability and 3) demonstrating what can be achievable from a commercial system with respect to sensitivity, resilience, size, weight and cost.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries from this research are diverse and include:
1. RSK's clients (e.g. civil engineering consultants, town planners, utility companies, councils, Highways England, major projects (HS2, Thames Tideway, nuclear industry))
2. surveying practitioners (e.g. RSK & others)
3. e2v, G&H and members of the supply chain for quantum technologies, who will benefit from new capabilities and future revenue streams.
3. e2v's clients who will ultimately purchase the QT gravity gradiometers and utilise these in many (civil) applications.
4. civil engineers who can use the underground space more sustainably in their infrastructure designs
5. UK-based and international academics.
6. the general public who will benefit from a reduction in streetworks due to the use of trenchless technologies and fewer surprised, undetected mine shafts
7. the environment as more infrastructure such as parking and shops can be moved underground freeing up surface space for an increase in green infrastructure

The short-term impact of REVEAL will be the development and trial of the first commercial prototype QT gravity gradiometer together with appropriate survey strategies & post-processing algorithms to minimise the time gravity surveys take combined with advanced data analysis. In this way, not only will the improved sensitivity & resilience make a difference to the detection of different targets, but the advanced speed of survey will also increase the demand for gravity surveys as the total cost reduces.
In addition, the end-users are being engaged early on in the sensor development process opening a channel of communication between the physics researchers, the systems integrators and the end-users. This is vital to ensure the developed sensors are useable in harsh civil engineering environments, & to mitigate the requirement of highly skilled operators. Furthermore, the practitioners' clients will be able to see the potential of the new QT sensors based on the forward models ensuring a demand for these sensors once they become market ready & also providing confidence in their capabilities. REVEAL will accelerate the QT roadmap & increase industry's confidence in the technology as it will continue to translate the developments from the UoB to e2v and G&H. The engineering driven research takes into account user needs, promoting industrial adoption & generating social & economic impact, e.g. by reducing urban traffic congestion with better underground intelligence. The essential step is to build sufficient commercial confidence in a "spooky" & potentially disruptive QT to unlock further industrial investment.

On a 10-50 year timescale, the QT sensors could revolutionise a wide range of industrial processes, as diverse as resilient communication networks; structural analysis (e.g. aerospace); functional analysis (e.g. electronic components); improved oil & gas recovery; CO2 sequestration supervision; construction work using underground space; detection of sinkholes & assessment of the condition of dams in flood prevention.

The PDRAs will gain enormously by working on a multi-disciplinary project with a clear, practical application & active interaction with the partner companies on the project on a professional level. This will undoubtedly make them much more marketable & employable in the future. The academics will benefit by being involved in such a prestigious, multi-disciplinary project which has the potential to make a tangible difference in the future, & also through job creation within industry. It was already demonstrated by SIGMA/SIGMA+ & FreezeRay/FreezeRay2, that these types of projects can generate significant interest outside the physics community in QT as it focuses on the early adopters of the technology & sparks people's imagination. This will help to further raise their profiles in the academic community & through the industrial collaboration, connections will be developed which will be beneficial for future projects.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description + Established QA/QC requirements for QT gravity gradiometers
+ Developed a processing process for conventional gravity gradiometry data using the Scintrex CG6 with the potential to transfer to QT gravity gradiometer data
+ Established novel methods to bake and seal the vacuum chambers
+ Designed and build a trolley which can be used with the QT gravity gradiometer sensor to move from point to point and aid the levelling of the instrument
+ Lessons learned how to build a commercial QT gravity gradiometer
+ Impact of magnetic fields on sensor performance evaluated
Exploitation Route The findings are supporting the ISCF Gravity Pioneer bid and the gravity instrument build within REVEAL will form the basis for an upgraded Gravity Pioneer instrument.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Construction,Electronics,Environment

 
Description The work under REVEAL combined with the other research projects are contributing to a Quantum Technology REF Case Study for either 2021 or beyond as well as academic papers Learning from the design of the first commercial gravity sensor sensor has fed and is feeding into the development of the ISCF funded Gravity Pioneer project which will continue the knowledge transfer from research to industry to create a QT gravity sensors. At the same time, research is advanced to focus on the SWAPc and also different survey modalities.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Construction,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description EPSRC/Innovate UK Quantum Technology Phase 4
Amount £597,887 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R020035/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2018
 
Description UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensing and Timing
Amount £23,949,167 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T001046/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2019 
End 11/2024
 
Description Innovate UK QT 
Organisation Gooch & Housego
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This is part of a collaborative research project to develop the first commercial Quantum Technology gravity gradiometer. The research team comprises academics and industrial experts in systems engineering, laser development and geophysics. Academia provides expertise in the sensor development and the data processing as well as field trials.
Collaborator Contribution Industry provides knowledge on systems integration and commercial packaging in order to ensure the sensor moves from a laboratory prototype to a commercial prototype taking into account the commercial requirements for such a sensor when it is used in the field.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Innovate UK QT 
Organisation RSK Group Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This is part of a collaborative research project to develop the first commercial Quantum Technology gravity gradiometer. The research team comprises academics and industrial experts in systems engineering, laser development and geophysics. Academia provides expertise in the sensor development and the data processing as well as field trials.
Collaborator Contribution Industry provides knowledge on systems integration and commercial packaging in order to ensure the sensor moves from a laboratory prototype to a commercial prototype taking into account the commercial requirements for such a sensor when it is used in the field.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Innovate UK QT 
Organisation e2v Technologies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This is part of a collaborative research project to develop the first commercial Quantum Technology gravity gradiometer. The research team comprises academics and industrial experts in systems engineering, laser development and geophysics. Academia provides expertise in the sensor development and the data processing as well as field trials.
Collaborator Contribution Industry provides knowledge on systems integration and commercial packaging in order to ensure the sensor moves from a laboratory prototype to a commercial prototype taking into account the commercial requirements for such a sensor when it is used in the field.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration.
Start Year 2017
 
Description InnovateUK - RSK 
Organisation Rescale
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This is an Innovate UK funded project, lead by RSK with both RSK and the UoB getting grant funding and RSK also putting in both cash and in-kind support. The UoB is providing the academic background to gravity modelling and assessment of the instrument and environmental noise as well as the location effect. It allows the assessment of the potential of the new quantum technology gravity gradiometer to be developed at Birmingham as part of the QT Hub in Sensors and Metrology.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of field trial site, practical consideration in the use of geophysics and access to other industry stakeholders.
Impact Assessment of area of opportunity for QT gravity gradiometer Conference Presentation This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration combining civil engineering and geophysics Assessment of type and size of noise affecting gravity measurements
Start Year 2015
 
Title Gravity data processing 
Description Software was developed to integrate with workflow by RSK to interpret gravity data 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This software will support RSK with their workflow when interpreting gravity data. It will accelerate their data processing ability and hence make them more competitive compared to other survey companies. 
 
Description Birmingham Heroes Quantum Technology Campaign 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The University rund a Birmingham Heroes Campaign highlighting excellent research within the University. This comprises of a website and related video as well as advertising boards across campus, at London Underground Stations and within local trains. Moreover, the campaign was also used as a showcase at the Birmingham University Annual Meeting on 8/3/18 to a group of approximately 200 invited guests from government, funders, industry, and businesses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/heroes/quantum-technologies.aspx
 
Description Birmingham Heroes Sustainable Cities Campaign 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The University rund a Birmingham Heroes Campaign highlighting excellent research within the University. This comprises of a website and related video as well as advertising boards across campus, at London Underground Stations and within local trains.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/heroes/sustainable-cities.aspx
 
Description Blog for Quantum City Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Created a Blog for the Quantum Communication Hub website and the Quantum City Website explaining how a civil engineer ended up working with quantum physicists and using quantum technology sensors. The idea was to ensure others to engage with quantum technologies even if at first sight they did not have the appropriate background.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.quantumcommshub.net/blog/an-interview-with-a-civil-engineer-in-quantum-professor-nicole-...
 
Description CIRIA Site Investigation Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A talk was given on 18th June 2019 to a group of geoscience professional and civil engineering construction industry as well as asset owners on innovative non-intrusive site investigation techniques. The potential of quantum technology gravity sensors was demonstrated alongside showing the limitations of existing methods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Discussion with Sydney Water 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Early discussions were held with Sydney Water to discuss the potential of quantum technology gravity sensors to detect leaks from water pipelines. This will be followed up with a visit to Sydney Water in May 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Discussion with UK Water Industry Research re Leak Detection 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions with the Head of Research at UK Water Industry research were had to discuss the potential of quantum technology sensors to address one of ULWIR's big question regarding Zero Leakage by 20150. This might open up additional funding and/or additional applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Emerging Frontiers article and video 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Article was published together with a video to highlight the research in quantum technology gravity sensors with respect to revealing below ground assets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/quest/emerging-frontiers/Mapping-the-ground.aspx
 
Description Exhibition at Thames Water H&S Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The quantum technology gravity sensor work is displayed to an audience of water practitioners who are interested in increasing their knowledge of the location of their buried assets and also the condition of these assets. QT gravity sensors are seen as a potential long-term solution. This has been as a direct result of the New Scientist Live Exhibition in 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Industry Workshop for Gravity Sensors 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A workshop was held with industry to assess their challenges related to inaccurate or incomplete knowledge of the location of buried assets and to assess if quantum technology gravity sensors could make a difference to industry in the future, but also to discuss what can be done now with existing geophysical sensing technologies and asset tags.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Institute of Physics - Public Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On the 2nd February 2021, I gave a public presentation with the title 'Revealing the Unseen - Potential of Quantum Technology Gravity Sensors - A Civil Engineer's Perspective. It sparked several questions about the usability of the QT instruments in a number of different applications from civil engineering to archaeology. The presentation lasted 45 minutes with Q&A after.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://events.iop.org/revealing-unseen-potential-quantum-technology-gravity-sensors-civil-engineers...
 
Description Keynote at EAGE Near Surface Geophysics conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A keynote was presented as part of the Opening Session of the EAGE Near Surface Geophysics conference. The keynote was entitled "Better location and condition assessment of critical infrastructure: Exploiting existing technologies and Quantum Technology sensors" It used QT-PRI, GRAM, REVEAL as examples of where quantum technology sensors could be used in the future to provide a better understanding of the subsurface.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://eage.eventsair.com/near-surface-geoscience-2019/
 
Description New Scientist Live Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Together with BT we had a Quantum Technology Exhibit at the New Scientist Live Exhibition at the EXCEL arena in London, which attracted over 20,000 people. This allowed us to bring the idea of quantum technology sensing to the general public and encourage children to get involved in STEM subjects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Poster Presentation AGU 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster was presented at the Annual Geophysics Union conference in New Orleans in December 2017. The poster was entitled: The potential of quantum technology gravity sensors in civil engineering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description QT Hub Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Exhibition Stall at the QT Hub National Programme Showcase event in London to present the findings from the research; This spanned the outcome of several QT research projects highlighting our progress and close collaboration with industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description QT National Showcase Nov 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A webinar was conducted about how quantum technology gravity sensors has an impact on geophysical surveying with particular application in (civil) engineering. This was followed by a Q&A. The webinar involved Nicole Metje, Mike Holynski, Giles Hammond, Paul Wilkinson, Caitlin Percy, Gillian Marshall
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description SUBSURFACE ASSET MANAGEMENT & SURVEYING 2019 Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A technical presentation was given as part of the SUBSURFACE ASSET MANAGEMENT & SURVEYING 2019 conference in Kuala Lumpur. The audience consisted mainly of survey practitioners and politicians as well as some academics. The title of the presentation was "Detecting buried features and density variations using innovative gravity sensors" Approximately 100 practitioners attended the two day event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Seminar Presentation at the College of Surveying, Tongji University, Shanghai, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A research presentation was given to 15 postgraduate students as part of a seminar series by Prof David Chapman at the College of Surveying, Tongji University, Shanghai, China in November 2018 covering the latest research on Mapping and Assessing the Underworld, FINDIT, Smart Pipes, the National Buried Infrastructure Facility and gravity surveying all aimed at using sensing technologies to locate and assess the condition of our buried utility assets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Sinkhole Video 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In order to demonstrate the potential of Quantum Technology Gravity Sensors, we created a video to highlight the issues related to the detection of sinkholes and how QT sensors can help with this. The video was co-created with RSK as the industrial collaborator giving it more credibility amongst practitioners and acting as an example of good practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8SmmjieVhI