The high-sensitivity laser-pumped helium magnetometer technology is currently being developed for military applications in UAVs and UUVs used for Mine Countermeasures and Anti-Submarine Warfare. Polatomic is pursuing opportunities in magnetic detection of tunnels for border security and monitoring and airborne detection of underground facilities. The MLM will be used for surface, marine, and airborne magnetic prospecting in small UAVs. Polatomic is jointly pursuing use of the laser magnetometers for mineral and petroleum exploration with Southern Methodist University. The MLM permits high-resolution magnetometer and gradiometer mapping of mineral deposits that form in ridges, narrow intrusions, geologic up-thrusts, and deep-lying ore deposits. In conventional airborne surveys, the high sampling rate and high resolution may increase the daily productivity per aircraft by as much as a factor of ten. In addition, underwater magnetic surveys will benefit from the order-of-magnitude gradiometer resolution improvement realized by towing the MLM in a magnetically clean underwater vehicle.
The technology developed in this SBIR project will find applications in advanced MLM instruments for airborne, satellite, and surface measurements of magnetic fields on Earth and for other bodies in the Solar System. Laser magnetometers are under consideration for volcanic eruption predictions and geo-potential changes in the Earth's crust associated with earthquakes and subduction zones. Laser-pumped space magnetometers are also under development for missions including an Earth-field orbiting magnetometer/gradiometer mapping mission, a solar orbiter mission with JPL and UCLA, future Jupiter missions with GSFC, and a Mars Observer mission with JPL. The compact size will enable the MLM to be used on small UAV's and satellites. The outstanding accuracy and sensitivity will allow the measurement of gradients at short and long distances. The MLM will can also be configures as a portable instrument for use in magnetic calibration facilities and for ground-based magnetic testing of spacecraft and aircraft.