OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, announces a collaborative research agreement with the Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences that includes the installation of an on-campus fiber optic seismic array.
Using OptaSense distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology to sense ambient noise and seismic energy, the seismic array will enable scientists to conduct research in passive seismology. Located adjacent to a major geologic fault zone, the San Andreas Fault, the seismic array will be used to image subsurface properties that provide scientists a better understanding of the complex geology in the Bay Area.
The seismic array will leverage a two kilometer long, standard telecommunications fiber optic cable. The OptaSense DAS system will transform this fiber into thousands of distributed sensors capable of detecting changes in pressure, temperature and strain. A single fiber can create a seismic array with thousands of channels, allowing for dense sampling of seismic wavefields and the ability to detect weak signals.
Utilizing a Coherent Optical Time Domain Reflectometer, or Interrogator Unit (IU), the OptaSense system sends laser pulses down the length of the fiber to measure and observe changes in the backscattered light, indicating movement in the earth adjacent to the fiber.
In addition to enabling research in seismology, the OptaSense DAS system will support potential studies in fields such as structural engineering, communications, infrastructure monitoring, and security.
“Collaborating with one of the world’s foremost academic institutions is particularly exciting for OptaSense. For the first time, we are putting our DAS technology into the hands of the academic community and working with them to explore new applications and techniques. Through this collaboration we will be able to mature the understanding and expand the capabilities of DAS for the benefit of the wider seismic community,” commented David Hill, Chief Technology Officer at OptaSense.