A sapphire monolithic differential accelerometer as core sensor for gravity gradiometric geophysical instrumentation

A. Bertolini, N. Beverini, A. De Michele, F. Fidecaro, F. Mango


Gradiometric gravimetry is a survey technique widely used in geological structure investigation. This work demonstrates
the feasibility of a new class of low frequency accelerometers for geodynamics studies and space applications.
We present the design features of a new low noise single-axis differential accelerometer; the sensor is suitable
to be used in a Gravity Gradiometer (GG) system for land geophysical survey and gravity gradient measurements.
A resolution of 1 Eötvös (1 Eö=10?9s?2) at one sample per second is achievable in a compact, lightweight
(less than 2 kg) portable instrument, operating at room temperature. The basic components of the sensor are two
identical rigidly connected accelerometers separated by a 15-cm baseline vector and the useful signal is extracted
as the subtraction of the two outputs, by means of an interferometric microwave readout system. The structure will
be engraved in a monocrystal of sapphire by means of Computer-Numerically-Controlled (CNC) ultrasonic machining:
the material was chosen because of its unique mix of outstanding mechanical and dielectric properties.


gradiometric gravimeter;accelerometer;Whispering gallery cavity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3111
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X