Saturday, September 26, 2015

Miniaturized Radar Sensor for Borehole and Formation Imaging

Miniaturized Radar Sensor for Borehole and Formation Imaging


Project TitleMiniaturized Radar Sensor for Borehole and Formation Imaging
Track Code2014-021
Short DescriptionNone
Tagssensorultra-shortimpulseimagingoil and gasmm-waveterahertz
Posted DateSep 25, 2015 11:54 AM


Radiating ultra-short broadband pulses in the mm-wave and terahertz regimes have potential applications in 3D imaging, spectroscopy, chemical sensing, and wireless communications, among others. In the oil and gas industry an assortment of logging tools are often used to measure important formation properties and for geo-steering in horizontal drilling and fracture detection. Conventional high-resolution techniques like microresistivity sensors are not suitable in conditions with oil-based mud but increasing the operating frequency may offer performance improvements. However, one limiting factor so far has been that the pulse width of silicon-based radiators has been too long and the bandwidth has been limited. A new radar imaging system is desired that can provide accurate and detailed imaging under a variety of conditions.  


Solid-state impulse radar sensors operating at high frequencies that radiate ultra-short impulses can provide excellent vertical and azimuth resolution and investigation depth in materials like oil-based mud that challenge other imaging technologies. The reflected signals from different boundaries reach the receiver at different times allowing for the measurement of complex permittivity of the formation with minimal calibration and without being affected by the properties of the oil-based mud.    

Benefits and Features

  • The very narrow radiated pulses can penetrate high-resistivity and nonconductive oil-based mud to provide a more complete image of the formation 
  • The radar sensor is not a contact-based probe and the unique design does not require a continuous wave oscillator to generate the narrow pulses 

Market Potential / Applications

An ultra-short impulse high frequency sensor has numerous applications in the oil and gas industry. An imaging system based on this technology could be used for accurately imaging formations and boreholes and for cross-sectional imaging of pipelines during production to determine fluid velocity, deposition thickness of asphaltenes and wax, and other characteristics.  

Development and Licensing Status

Patent pending; this invention is available for licensing from Rice University.

Rice Researcher

Aydin Babakhani is Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University.    

Technology Relevant Papers and Web Links

None available.

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