PicoGeo moves forward in volcano-seismic monitoring
Two innovations developed by PicoGeo will contribute to reducing the costs of production while enhancing the sensibility of measurements
The European Commission's Innovation Radar identified the ultra-high resolution borehole strainmeter for geophysical applications developed by SiC Nano for PicoGeo and the industrialized simplified versions of the ultra-accurate strain sensor as two key innovations. Both innovations will contribute to reducing the costs of production while enhancing the sensibility of measurements. These instruments will have important implications for volcano-seismic crisis management.
The ultra-high resolution borehole strainmeter and the industrialization of the ultra-accurate strain sensor
The development of ultra-high-resolution borehole strainmeter and the industrialization simplified versions of the ultra-accurate strain sensor place PicoGeo in the EU Innovation Radar as a highly innovative funded project. This new sensor will combine 3C-SiC material with a high Young modulus (3 times higher than silicon) that enhance the actual strain sensor's sensibility, allowing to detect ultra-small and slow strain transients preceding earthquakes and eruptions. The added value is that the sensors will also promote the physics study of volcanic areas and seismogenic faults, thanks to the small dimension and the cost-effective technology. The small size will allow measuring the vertical profile of strain along the same hole. Moreover, at the end of the project, a "Pico strain Etna lab" will be created as an innovative laboratory for the advance monitoring of volcanic and seismic strains phenomena. The laboratory will be the starting point for a new network infrastructure that will improve volcanic regions' scientific knowledge across Europe.
The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) underlines the relevance of the PicoGeo project to detect nanoscale shakes.
Market potential and maturity
JRC's Market Creation Potential indicator (MCPI) framework has evaluated the Ultra-high-resolution borehole strainmeter and the industrialization of simplified versions of the ultra-accurate strain sensor against the needs of the existing markets and consumers.
The two innovation envisaged in the Picogeo project demonstrate to create Market potential as they fulfil all the three conditions required by the MCPI:
- The market targeted by this innovation is emerging or not existing;
- Innovations are intended to be exploited commercially;
- Innovations target new customers.
- Market ready
- Tech ready
- Business ready
The ultra-high-resolution borehole strainmeter and the simplified versions of the ultra-accurate strain sensor are classified at the Exploring level of market maturity, which means that the Picogeo innovations are in the early phases of technological readiness. Still, they are already showing high levels of commitment from the organizations developing them. They are considered innovations with the potential to explore value creation opportunities and with concrete market-oriented ideas that will transform them into marketable products.
These achievements would not be possible without the valuable collaboration of partners like Sisgeo Srl , the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM) of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) and INGV that gave a significant contribution to the development of these innovative instruments.