Practical considerations for small receive coils in surface NMR

Denys Grombacher*, Lichao Liu, Jakob Juul Larsen, Esben Auken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The development of multichannel instrumentation was a significant step forward for surface nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Multichannel instruments allow data to be recorded on multiple receivers simultaneously, thus facilitating the exploitation of Wiener filtering techniques that provide significant signal-to-noise increases and allow two- and three-dimensional images of the subsurface properties to be produced. When working in challenging environments (e.g. forested/brushy terrain), difficult noise conditions, or when using complicated survey designs it can become quite cumbersome to deploy multiple coils, which often require substantial lengths of cable to be deployed. As such, it would be advantageous if the dimensions of typical receive coils could be greatly reduced from the current standards (~25–100 m). The use of small receive coils would lead to more rapid survey deployment and may advance the utility of methods requiring multiple receivers. The objectives of this work are two-fold. The first aims to quantify limits on the feasible dimensions of small receive coils in surface NMR, aiming to provide an estimate of the minimum effective area of a functional surface NMR receiver. The second aims to demonstrate that the use of multiple additional small receive coils (when used in conjunction with the standard large coincident transmit/receive coil) can help to improve the resolution of estimated water content and relaxation time depth profiles. Synthetic results are presented to quantify lower effective area limits and to demonstrate potential resolution improvements provided by small receivers. The feasibility of a small receiver (400 m2 and 200 m2) is demonstrated in a field setting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Geophysics
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


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