Studies of Industrial Gravity Measurement Applications

SIGMA + is the second stage of the collaboration between RSK and the University of Birmingham (UoB) to carry out a feasibility study identifying the potential of Quantum Technology (QT) gravity sensors in geophysical surveys for environmental and engineering applications.

This project will expand on the knowledge gained from the first stage of SIGMA, and aims to enable the full use of the new QT sensors being developed.

The project is funded by Innovate UK and EPSRC.

The project was completed in June 2017.

Several other QT projects are now in progress using the knowledge acquired during SIGMA + including REVEAL which started in March 2017.



For the QT sensors to achieve an accelerated commercialization, it is vital to ensure that they meet user needs. The objectives of the original SIGMA project were

  • Review existing geophysical surveying technologies, and catalogue what they can and cannot detect
  • Develop quantitative tools to simulate the sources of measured gravity signal over unknown and difficult ground commonly experienced by industry today
  • Characterise the sources of noise and unwanted signals in ultra-accurate gravity data, quantify their effect on what is measured, and develop strategies to remove them
  • Determine requirements for inversion models, and
  • Carry out field trials

SIGMA ran from July 2015 to June 2016. Further funding was achieved from Innovate UK to extend the project to further define our understanding in the following aspects:

  • Develop more accurate landform modelling and position finding
  • Characterising the near surface variations that will mask signals
  • Further field trials