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Quantum Sensing Searchlight Maps The Interior Of The Earth

Quantum sensing for gravity cartography is now being applied to actually see into the Earth. At first, this will have great applications in looking at buried and inaccessible infrastructure in need of repair.


(From Quantum sensing for gravity cartography)

Professor Kai Bongs, Head of Cold Atom Physics at the University of Birmingham and Principal Investigator of the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, said: “This is an ‘Edison moment’ in sensing that will transform society, human understanding and economies.

“With this breakthrough we have the potential to end reliance on poor records and luck as we explore, build and repair. In addition, an underground map of what is currently invisible is now a significant step closer, ending a situation where we know more about Antarctica than what lies a few feet below our streets.”

Current gravity sensors are limited by a range of environmental factors. A particular challenge is vibration, which limits the measurement time of all gravity sensors for survey applications. If these limitations can be addressed, surveys can become faster, more comprehensive and lower cost.

The sensor developed by Dr Michael Holynski, Head of Atom Interferometry at Birmingham and lead author of the study, and his team at Birmingham is a gravity gradiometer. The system overcomes vibration and a variety of other environmental challenges in order to successfully apply quantum technology in the field.

(Via University of Birmingham)

Scientifiction author Frank Stockton described this wonderful idea in his 1897 story The Great Stone of Sardis:


(The photic borer from 'The Great Stone of Sardis' by Frank Stockton)

Roland Clewe had come to believe in the existence of a photic force, somewhat similar to the cathode ray, but of infinitely greater significance and importance to the searcher after physical truth. Simply described, his discovery was a powerful ray produced by a new combination of electric lights, which would penetrate down into the earth, passing through all substances which it met in its way, and illuminating and disclosing everything through which it passed.

The peculiar quality of this light, which gave it its great preeminence over all other penetrating rays, was the power it possessed of illuminating an object; passing through it; rendering it transparent and invisible; illuminating the opaque substance it next met in its path, and afterwards rendering that transparent.
(Read more about the photic borer)

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