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VIDEO: Bold engineering at SEG 2014

Oilfield Technology,

Silicon Audio’s new low-noise optical seismometer was launched at the 2014 SEG International Exposition in Denver.

The new seismic sensor is the same size and shape as a conventional geophone, however it uses optics technology to record much lower frequencies at a previously unachievable noise floor. The new measurements enabled by Silicon Audio’s low-noise optical seismometer will help to close the gap between exploring for oil and definitively finding it.

“At Silicon Audio, we’ve engineered a new way to detect seismic data. By combining the reliable mechanics of the conventional geophone with optics technology, our new seismometer captures more data with greater sensitivity than has been previously possible using a single geophone or scientific instrument,” explained Coe Schlicher, CEO of Silicon Audio.

“In an industry where exploration is increasingly challenging and requires greater adaptability in tougher terrain, our optical seismometer offers scientific-grade performance and wide dynamic range in a rugged, easy-to-deploy form factor. We’re now looking for forward-thinking companies to partner with us and leverage our sensor’s advantages in the market.”

The low-noise optical seismometer uses a laser to read the motion of a vibrating proof mass, achieving a high signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio and recording lower frequencies compared to existing geophone technology. It has versatile broadband response capabilities and delivers high-quality data at both large- and small-signal levels simultaneously. The rugged, reliable seismometer integrates seamlessly into existing geophone architectures without any special handling.

The Silicon Audio optical seismometer combines the rugged and reliable form factor of traditional geophones and powerful measurement capabilities of scientific instruments, offering a single seismometer that can take scientific-grade measurements and be deployed in places that previously required multiple units.

With the optical seismometer, engineers in marine applications can detect low-frequency (sub 1Hz) signals with high fidelity, translating to an additional decade of low-frequency data for deeper imaging into the seafloor. The same technology offers a flat response from 0.1 Hz to 1 kHz, low cross-axis sensitivity, and low power, making it ideal for land-based seismic exploration across difficult terrain.

Performance down to 0.1 Hz has been verified in tests performed at the Albuquerque Seismology Laboratory, part of the United States Geological Survey. The Silicon Audio optical seismometer has been used to record distant seismic events originating thousands of miles away, as well as the earth’s natural background noise including the 5-second period microseism.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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