Available student project - Quantum gravimtery for ground water mapping and subsurface planetary structure mapping

Research fields

  • Quantum Science and Technology
  • Environmental Physics

Project details

Local spatial and temporal mass density variations give rise to variations in local gravity. Sensitive and accurate easurements of local gravity made possible through quantum sensors developed at ANU is opening a new window on subsurface structure.  In this project, we will assess a variety of applications. Can we map ground water flows with local gravity measurements? Can we locate and map human made structures such as tunnels or archeological sites? Can we locate and map lava tunnels that are expected to exist under the Moon's surface and that may be suitable as a starting point for human habitation? What specifications (sensitivity, accuracy and drift) on quantum gravimeters is necessary to achieve these goals and is it feasible? These questions define the project.

We will address these questions through field measurements, data analysis of those measurements and a clear understanding of the quantum mechanics that underpins these sensors. We will map the local Wee Jasper and Yarrangobilly cave systems by making surface measurements of gravity, invert the data and compare quantitatively with the known structures. We will map the convict grain silos in the rocks on Garden Island in Sydney and again compare with the known structures. We will map ground water in the Maules Creek catchment and compare to ground truth provided by bore hole sensors.

This project will appeal to students who are intersted in quantum technologies, their development and their application. It will involve field work, field measurements and modelling of the quantum sensor.

Required background

1st year physics either completed or taken concurrently.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • PhB (1st year)
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours or MSc project
  • Phd or MPhil
  • Vacation scholar

Contact supervisor

Close, John profile

Other supervisor(s)

Legge, Samuel profile

Updated:  17 August 2022/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster