Analysis of seismic noise to check the mechanical isolation of a medical device

Paola Cusano, Antonella Bobbio, Gaetano Festa, Simona Petrosino, Sara Rombetto


We have investigated the mechanical response of a magnetically shielded room that hosts a magnetoencephalography system that is subject to external vibrations. This is a superconducting quantum interference device, which are the most sensitive sensors for magnetic flux variations. When the magnetoencephalography operates with people inside the room, the spectrum of the flux of the magnetic field shows anomalous peaks at several frequencies between 1 Hz and 20 Hz, independent of the experiment that is being run. As the variations in the flux of the magnetic field through the sensors might not only be related to the electrical currents circulating inside the brain, but also to non-damped mechanical oscillations of the room, we installed seismic instrumentation to measure the effective motion inside the room and to compare it to the external motion. For this analysis, we recorded the ambient seismic noise at two very close stations, one inside the magnetically shielded room, the other one outside in the room in which the magnetically shielded room is itself located. Data were collected over four days, including a week-end, to study the response of the magnetically shielded room subjected to different energy levels of external vibrations. The root mean square, Fourier spectra and power spectral density show significant differences between the signal recorded inside and outside the magnetically shielded room, with several anomalous peaks in the frequency band of 1 Hz to 20 Hz. The normalized spectral quantities (horizontal to vertical spectral ratio, and ratio between the internal and external spectra) show large amplification at several frequencies, reaching in some cases one order of magnitude. We concluded that the magnetically shielded room does not dampen the external vibrations, but it instead appears to amplify these across a broad frequency range.


Seismic noise, noise acquisition, anthropogenic sources, Spectral Ratio Analyses, Magnetoencephalography

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X