Low-Cost Small Diameter NMR Technologies for In-Situ Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vista Clara Inc.
12201 Cyrus Way Suite 104
Mukilteo, WA 98275
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

This project will address the problem of characterizing and monitoring subsurface hydro-geological and groundwater transport processes within 200m of the earth¿s surface, including both the saturated and unsaturated (Vadose) zones. The project will develop low-cost, small-diameter NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) instrumentation and software for direct subsurface measurement of groundwater and its hydraulic properties. This effort will leverage magnet/coil designs and NMR techniques pioneered for deep petroleum exploration, and implement them in miniaturized, low-cost form factors suitable for hydro-geological investigations in the top 200 meters of the subsurface. The Phase I project performed computer simulations and laboratory NMR experiments to establish the technical feasibility of using NMR sensors to derive hydro-geological properties in boreholes as small as 2 in. in diameter using structural design and analysis to establish the feasibility of NMR cone penetrometers. The Phase II project will design, assemble and field test a complete borehole NMR instrumentation and software system for characterizing hydro-geological processes in the top 200m of the subsurface. It will also design, assemble, and field-test a cone penetrometer NMR sonde, and integrate it with an existing DoE cone penetrometer system. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The results of this effort will be commercialized in the form of small-diameter NMR instruments and field services. Small-diameter down-hole NMR technology will bring the unique advantages of in-situ NMR measurements to a broad variety of subsurface hydrological investigations, at a fraction of the cost of existing borehole NMR instruments and services.