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

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


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


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.