MITOS (Magnetic Induction Tomography using Optical Sensors)
Current off-the-shelf technology cannot accurately detect failures in many applications from inspection of graphite moderator stacks to cracks in wind turbine blades. Several such inspection challenges now require urgent attention.
Increasing global trends toward automation, robotics, remote management of operations and increased demand for digitalisation are also becoming key determinants in quality system selection.
Motivated to address such challenges, we joined the European MITOS (Magnetic Induction Tomography with Optical Sensors) project to explore the possibilities of implementing quantum sensor technology in inspection systems*.
The scientific foundation for the project was based on the research performed by the team at UCL on radio-frequency atomic magnetometers, which demonstrated that quantum sensors could provide orders of magnitude greater performance than current systems.
The MITOS project used that idea to look at the commercial development prospects for a robotic inspection system. The goal was to demonstrate a step change in performance capabilities for imaging applications such as inspection under cladding, paint, debris and laminate materials.
The project confirmed that a system based on the use of atomic magnetometers to deliver a form of electromagnetic induction imaging would be capable of overcoming many of the limitations in current systems**.
We demonstrated that this technology would be capable of development into a new inspection system which would offer a series of key advantages. The technology does not require contact with the object being inspected. It can be miniaturised. It can be readily deployed in automated/robotic systems. It can be deployed in underwater scenarios.
An inspection system based on radio-frequency atomic magnetometer technology would be an appropriate solution for many applications which require imaging through materials, for example in the evaluation of steel structures through layers of marine life.
If you are interested in quality inspection systems based on quantum sensors, or any other electro-magnetic based technologies, get in touch. Unitive Design provides contract services and systems consultancy across the entire EM spectrum from highly sophisticated imaging, radiographical and NIR systems to nuclear detection.
This was an ERA-Net supported project as part of the Photonic Sensing initiative, based on ground-breaking work by the team at UCL, headed by Prof. Ferruccio Renzoni.
* Project consortium: Unitive Design, the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL, the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Marwan Technology and Valis Engineering
** A demonstration of the radio-frequency atomic magnetometer with sub-Doppler laser cooled rubidium-87 in a simple and compact design, was demonstrated at UCL and shown to work to a sensitivity of 330 pT/√Hz in an unshielded environment, matching or surpassing previously reported cold atom designs.