Mukilteo, WA, United States
Mukilteo, WA, United States

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Patent
Vista Clara Inc. | Date: 2016-12-19

Technologies applicable to NMR spin-echo amplitude estimation are disclosed. Example methods may calibrate for distortion of a shape and estimated amplitude of measured NMR spin or gradient echoes. NMR spin or gradient echo measurements may be performed on a sample. The measured NMR spin or gradient echoes may be used to calculate an echo-shape calibration factor. The echo-shape calibration factor may estimate an effect of echo shape on estimated spin or gradient echo amplitude(s) of the NMR spin or gradient echoes. The echo-shape calibration factor may be used to correct for underestimation or overestimation of the spin or gradient echo amplitude(s).


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2016

This proposal addresses the challenge of non-invasively measuring subsurface hydrogeologic properties that control the transport of contaminants and availability of groundwater resources, and efficiently mapping these properties over wide areas of the shallow subsurface (upper ~50m). General statement of how this problem is being addressed: We will develop rapid scanning nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instrumentation and methods that can be used to efficiently map subsurface hydrogeologic properties using land or airborne deployment platforms. Surface NMR has been proven as a powerful geophysical technique for quantitatively measuring porosity and permeability, but to date the technology has been cumbersome with low signal-to-noise (SNR) and slow measurement speeds that limit the ability to efficiently survey large areas. We will transform surface NMR into a rapid mapping technology through novel advancements in hardware, acquisition methods, and processing algorithms that will yield order of magnitude improvements in measurement speed for wide area hydrogeologic characterization. Phase I Tasks: The Phase 1 research will establish the feasibility of obtaining high quality surface NMR data in vastly reduced measurement times with mobile deployment platforms. We will first establish the feasibility of novel acquisition and processing innovations to increase the available SNR with reduced measurement durations. We will further develop and demonstrate hardware improvements to enhance system mobility and surveying efficiency. Finally, we will directly demonstrate the feasibility of rapid surface NMR field measurements to map hydrogeologic properties using land-towed and airborne platforms. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Completion of this technology in Phase II and beyond will deliver rapid scanning surface NMR as a commercial product for sale, rental, and services in the booming market of geophysical mapping instrumentation sales and services. This technology will be of tremendous value to any company, government, or public agency engaged in contaminated site remediation, groundwater resource evaluation and development, or compliance with environmental standards. In particular reducing survey times and increasing the reliability of hydrogeologic mapping, will reduce site characterization costs, allow improved decision making, and will ultimately improve project outcomes and profitability. Ultimately, the technology will benefit worldwide human and ecosystem health, by enabling effect protection and management of groundwater resources.


Patent
Vista Clara Inc. | Date: 2016-02-12

Technologies including NMR relaxation time estimation methods and corresponding apparatus are disclosed. Example techniques may include performing at least one single-pulse acquisition sequence, the single-pulse acquisition sequence comprising transmitting a single modulated pulse with a surface coil, wherein the phase, frequency, or amplitude of the single modulated pulse is varied during the single modulated pulse, and wherein the single modulated pulse excites a transverse magnetization component within a subsurface fluid. The resulting NMR signal may be recorded on at least one receiving device, including recording the NMR signal associated with the transverse magnetization component excited by the single modulated pulse. Processing techniques may be applied in which recorded NMR response data are used to estimate NMR properties and the relaxation times T_(1 )and T_(2)* as a function of position as well as one-dimensional and two-dimension distributions of T_(1 )versus T_(2)* as a function of subsurface position.


Patent
Vista Clara Inc. | Date: 2013-10-15

Technologies including NMR logging apparatus and methods are disclosed. Example NMR logging apparatus may include surface instrumentation and one or more downhole probes configured to fit within an earth borehole. The surface instrumentation may comprise a power amplifier, which may be coupled to the downhole probes via one or more transmission lines, and a controller configured to cause the power amplifier to generate a NMR activating pulse or sequence of pulses. Impedance matching means may be configured to match an output impedance of the power amplifier through a transmission line to a load impedance of a downhole probe. Methods may include deploying the various elements of disclosed NMR logging apparatus and using the apparatus to perform NMR measurements.


Patent
Vista Clara Inc. | Date: 2014-01-21

Technologies applicable to detection and characterization of subsurface contaminants by NMR and dielectric measurements are disclosed. The disclosed technologies include methods for obtaining and combining data from NMR and dielectric measurements to detect, quantify, and characterize non-native non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contaminants located in geologic materials.


Patent
Vista Clara Inc. | Date: 2014-05-23

Technologies applicable to noise canceling in-situ NMR detection and imaging are disclosed. An example noise canceling in-situ NMR detection apparatus may comprise one or more of a static magnetic field generator, an alternating magnetic field generator, an in-situ NMR detection device, an auxiliary noise detection device, and a computer.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2015

Statement of the problem that is being addressed: This proposal addresses the challenge of non-invasively measuring subsurface hydrogeologic properties that control the transport of contaminants and availability of groundwater resources, and efficiently mapping these properties over wide areas of the shallow subsurface (upper ~50m). General statement of how this problem is being addressed: We will develop rapid scanning nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instrumentation and methods that can be used to efficiently map subsurface hydrogeologic properties using land or airborne deployment platforms. Surface NMR has been proven as a powerful geophysical technique for quantitatively measuring porosity and permeability, but to date the technology has been cumbersome with low signal-to-noise (SNR) and slow measurement speeds that limit the ability to efficiently survey large areas. We will transform surface NMR into a rapid mapping technology through novel advancements in hardware, acquisition methods, and processing algorithms that will yield order of magnitude improvements in measurement speed for wide area hydrogeologic characterization. Phase I Tasks: The Phase 1 research will establish the feasibility of obtaining high quality surface NMR data in vastly reduced measurement times with mobile deployment platforms. We will first establish the feasibility of novel acquisition and processing innovations to increase the available SNR with reduced measurement durations. We will further develop and demonstrate hardware improvements to enhance system mobility and surveying efficiency. Finally, we will directly demonstrate the feasibility of rapid surface NMR field measurements to map hydrogeologic properties using land-towed and airborne platforms. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Completion of this technology in Phase II and beyond will deliver rapid scanning surface NMR as a commercial product for sale, rental, and services in the booming market of geophysical mapping instrumentation sales and services. This technology will be of tremendous value to any company, government, or public agency engaged in contaminated site remediation, groundwater resource evaluation and development, or compliance with environmental standards. In particular reducing survey times and increasing the reliability of hydrogeologic mapping, will reduce site characterization costs, allow improved decision making, and will ultimately improve project outcomes and profitability. Ultimately, the technology will benefit worldwide human and ecosystem health, by enabling effect protection and management of groundwater resources. Key Words: Nuclear magnetic resonance, NMR, magnetic resonance sounding, groundwater, contamination, porosity, permeability, geophysics, hydrogeophysics, geophysical mapping, airborne geophysics. Summary for Members of Congress: There is a critical need to measure and map underground properties that influence groundwater availability and contaminant clean up. This project will develop rapid, efficient, and accurate measurement techniques based on the same physics as medical MRI, to map these properties over wide areas and improve groundwater management.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2015

This proposal addresses the need for low-cost sensors to provide accurate, long-term in-situ monitoring of soil moisture content, and other physical and chemical soil properties of relevance to carbon cycling. Vista Clara proposes to develop very low-cost, highly accurate unattended NMR soil moisture measurement sensors for long term monitoring of soil moisture and other physical and chemical properties of soils. The end product of the effort will be a rugged, self-powered, instrument, with simplified low-cost NMR sensors and the capability to incorporate other off-the-shelf soil chemical and physical property sensors. The Phase 2 research will develop and demonstrate analytical methods for utilizing the NMR-measured T2 relaxation distribution to detect and quantify the potential for carbon mineralization in near surface soils. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits This technology will directly benefit any business or government agency requiring and accurate low cost means of monitoring soil moisture content. The target market segments include agriculture, non-food horticulture, groundwater management and remediation, construction, civil and engineering. Soil moisture content, and its distribution in space and time, has a critical impact on many large and important industries, human health, and ecosystem health including: food production, non-food horticulture, groundwater management, contaminant remediation, construction, civil engineering (geotechnical engineering), and inspection of water management structures such as dams and levees. Our proposed development of rapid and accurate NMR-based soil moisture measurement tools will improve the understanding and management of moisture and hydrocarbons in soils, benefiting critical human activities and industries worldwide.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 375.00K | Year: 2015

This proposal addresses the need to monitor and characterize subsurface biogeochemical and hydrogeologic properties in-situ. Specifically this sequential Phase IIB effort addresses the commercial need for instrumentation that can operate on standard four-conductor wireline logging cable, which will enable practical, low-cost monitoring and deployment. Vista Clara proposes to develop a small-diameter digital NMR tool that can operate on standard four conductor wireline cable. With this digital tool design, complete functionality is enabled using 4-conductor wireline. The system will incorporate all of the advancements in measurement precision and sensitivity developed as part of the Phase I&II program, with a wireline platform that dramatically expands the scope of applications and removes barriers to commercial adoption. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits The Phase II work has resulted in an extremely powerful, precise, and sensitive downhole NMR technology that can be used for a wide range of subsurface characterization and monitoring objectives. The Phase IIB work will deliver these powerful capabilities in a platform that is compatible with the industry-standard of geophysical logging platform. As such it will reduce the deployment cost, increase the depth range, and effectively transform the commercial viability of downhole NMR. In doing so, it will bring this valuable technology to bear on a vastly expanded scope of government and private-sector environmental projects. Downhole NMR that can be practically and cost effectively deployed will directly benefit any company or agency engaged in subsurface characterization and remediation projects by improving their ability to characterize and monitor hydrogeologic properties and biogeochemical changes associated with remediation and other environmental objectives. As a result, environmental and groundwater managers will be able to obtain successful, rapid, and cost-effective remediation outcomes.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2012

This proposal addresses the problem of long term mapping and monitoring of subsurface geochemical and microbial activity associated with the transport and remediation of subsurface contaminants, including radionuclides and metals. The ability to map and monitor bioremediation processes in the near subsurface, in a cost effective way, is essential to the remediation and long-term stewardship of DOE sites, as well as other sites of national significance. We propose to develop low-cost, low field in-situ NMR probes and portable integrated surface instrumentation to enable long-term monitoring of bioremediation processes and biogeochemical changes in the subsurface. We also propose to develop and demonstrate NMR measurement techniques to directly detect and assess: a) the growth of biofilms in the subsurface, b) precipitation and biofouling due to bioremediation, and c) changes in iron mineralogy and subsurface redox conditions due to bioremediation processes. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed NMR instrumentation and measurement techniques will be broadly applicable to a wide variety of radionuclide, metal and organic contaminants including uranium, chromium and certain dense non-aqueous phase liquids. Hence the proposed NMR instrumentation and interpretation methods will benefit remediation efforts in industry as well as the government sector

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