Silicon Audio's New Low-Noise Optical Seismometer to Change Oil Exploration

DENVER, CO – Silicon Audio announces its low-noise optical seismometer at the 2014 SEG International Exposition in Denver, booth #2188. The new seismic sensor is the same size and shape as a conventional geophone, but it uses optics technology to record much lower frequencies at a previously unachievable noise floor. The new measurements enabled by Silicon Audio's low-noise optical seismometer will help to close the gap between exploring for oil and definitively finding it.

"At Silicon Audio, we've engineered a new way to detect seismic data. By combining the reliable mechanics of the conventional geophone with optics technology, our new seismometer captures more data with greater sensitivity than has been previously possible using a single geophone or scientific instrument," said Coe Schlicher, CEO of Silicon Audio. "In an industry where exploration is increasingly challenging and requires greater adaptability in tougher terrain, our optical seismometer offers scientific-grade performance and wide dynamic range in a rugged, easy-to-deploy form factor. We're now looking for forward-thinking companies to partner with us and leverage our sensor's advantages in the market."

The low-noise optical seismometer uses a laser to read the motion of a vibrating proof mass, achieving a high signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio and recording lower frequencies compared to existing geophone technology. It has versatile broadband response capabilities and delivers high-quality data at both large- and small-signal levels simultaneously. The rugged, reliable seismometer integrates seamlessly into existing geophone architectures without any special handling.

Marine, Land, and Scientific Use

The Silicon Audio optical seismometer combines the rugged and reliable form factor of traditional geophones and powerful measurement capabilities of scientific instruments, offering a single seismometer that can take scientific-grade measurements and be deployed in places that previously required multiple units.

With the optical seismometer, engineers in marine applications can detect low-frequency (sub 1Hz) signals with high fidelity, translating to an additional decade of low-frequency data for deeper imaging into the seafloor. The same technology offers a flat response from 0.1 Hz to 1 kHz, low cross-axis sensitivity, and low power – making it ideal for land-based seismic exploration across difficult terrain. In other applications, researchers get scientific-grade broadband performance with higher clip levels. All the while, the rugged structure, familiar form factor, and reliability of the optical seismometer make it easy to use and quickly take advantage of new, robust measurement capabilities.

Features and Benefits

• Low-Noise Measurement: Achieves below 5 ng/ √Hz from 1.0 Hz to 400 Hz, surpassing that of MEMS and conventional geophones and well suited for passive seismic applications.
• High Clip Level: With a clip level of +1.5 g pk, dynamic range exceeds that of state-of-the-art analog-to-digital converters, enabling system integrators to make full use of the data.
• Omnidirectional: Silicon Audio's sensor is tilt insensitive and operates in any orientation, enabling rapid deployment without the hassle and additional operating expense of leveling.
• Low Frequency: The ability to capture low-frequency (sub 1 Hz) signals with high fidelity translates to an additional decade of low frequency data for deeper imaging.
• Form Factor: Small size, low power, and ultra portability make the sensor ideal for high-density array applications and field installations.
• Reliable Design: The optical seismometer is shock tested to 3000 g to withstand the rigors of seismic deployment, and is customizable to fit within existing acquisition systems.
• Flexible Configuration: Offered in single-axis or three-axis configurations, and a small, single-element diameter (1.25") positions it for applications such as borehole deployment.

Extensively Tested

Performance down to 0.1 Hz has been verified in tests performed at the Albuquerque Seismology Laboratory, part of the United States Geological Survey. The Silicon Audio optical seismometer has been used to record distant seismic events originating thousands of miles away, as well as the earth's natural background noise including the 5-second period microseism.

Upcoming Opportunity

Silicon Audio is now looking for companies that will use this low-noise optical seismometer technology to close the gap between exploring for oil and definitively finding it. For further information, visit or contact [email protected]

Suggested Articles

One forecast from Cameron Chell: the best AI designers of the future won’t come from top universities

Survey of 30 chipmakers offers a good sign for research and development of self-driving vehicles, analyst says

Research dollars for AV are expected to remain, if slowed, especially for companies that see self-driving as a key to their success