Discover, Connect & Collaborate at TECHINNOVATION 2021

Utilize Quantum Sensing to Discern the Subsurface

Technology Overview

We utilized cold atom interferometry to develop Gravio – a quantum gravimeter that can provide accurate gravity data (10 µGal) at a high resolution (1 m – 10 m) in the shortest time via a survey vehicle.

Gravio is targeted at answering three questions:

  1. Where and how deep are the resource deposits?
  2. What is the optimal drilling plan?

Where and when might subsidence/sinkhole formation compromise safety?

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

Gravio enables three things simultaneously, which has not been possible before in conjunction:

  1. Moving-base gravimetry (dynamic data measurements)
  2. High spatial resolution data capture (dense gravity grid maps)
  3. Long term bias stability (consistent measurements without drift)

Due to these three innovative features, users benefit in three ways:

  1. Lower costs of geophysical surveys compared to traditional methods
  2. Detailed insights on the size and location of target features i.e. avoid drilling in false positive areas
  3. Long term deployment for safety monitoring to minimize financial and social liabilities

Conventional limitations that Gravio overcomes:

  • Classical gravimeters
    1. Mechanical drift – needs to be constantly calibrated
    2. Non-surveyable – start/stop measurements take time and require a ground crew
  • Ground penetrating radars (GPR)
    1. Depth limitation of 2 m – cannot be used to detect deep subsurface structures
    2. Affected by moisture – efficacy is contingent on the weather/climate
  • Seismic reflection/refraction
    1. Expensive and operationally tedious – installation requires onshore drilling

Affected by external noise – cannot be used in cities

Potential Applications

Primary application areas:

  • Construction – Map underground infrastructure, detect size and location of pilings, monitor subsidence/sinkhole formation to improve safety
  • Mineral exploration – Map mineral deposits, plan borehole surveys, monitor sinkhole formation to improve safety
  • Oil & gas exploration – Map oil & gas reservoirs, plan drill locations, monitor subsidence to improve safety

Secondary application areas:

  • Carbon capture & sequestration – Map saltwater deposits for storage, monitor state of storage after injection, “see” how carbon flows when injected
  • Sea level rise – Monitor sea level rise in coastal areas, detect landmass sink rate
  • Geological studies – Understand the changes in geology, such as magma and tectonic plate movements

Customer Benefit


  • Much lower operational costs compared to classical gravimeters and seismic reflection/refraction
  • Accelerate cash inflow via quicker project completion
  • Improved risk mitigation plans via better understanding of the subsurface


  • Non-intrusive and does not impact the environment in any way
  • Reduce the total number of boreholes via a detailed gravity grid map
  • Increase the hit-rate of drilling and minimize the need for other intrusive geophysical surveys like seismic reflection/refraction


  • Ground crew is not required for field operation and deployment, unlike for classical gravimeters and seismic
  • Trained personnel are not required to interpret output, unlike for seismic Data analysis is not compute heavy and does not require supercomputers, unlike for seismic

Data analysis is not compute heavy and does not require supercomputers, unlike for seismic

Contact Person

Kyusik Shim



Technology Category

  • Electronics
  • Sensors & Instrumentation
  • Infocomm
  • Geoinformatics

Technology Readiness Level


Quantum sensing