A new class super-broadband, nano-scale-resolution position sensor is tested. It is used as an additional sensor in seismograph. It enables to extend the band and enhance the sensitivity of the available technique by at least an order of magnitude. It allows transferring of mechanical vibrations of constructions and buildings, with amplitudes over 1 nm, into detectable signal in a frequency range starting practically from quasi-static movements. It is based on detection of position changes of a vibrating normal-metallic plate placed near the flat coil-being used as a pick-up in a stable tunnel diode oscillator. Frequency of the oscillator is used as a detecting parameter, and the measuring effect is determined by a distortion of the MHz-range testing field configuration near a coil by a vibrating plate, leading to magnetic inductance changes of the coil, with a resolution ∼10 pH. This results in changes of oscillator frequency. We discuss test data of such a position sensor, installed in a Russian SM-3 seismometer, as an additional pick-up component, showing its advantages compared to traditional techniques. We also discuss the future of such a novel sensor involving substitution of a metallic coil by a superconductive one and replacement of a tunnel diode by an S/I/S hetero-structure-as much less-powered active element in the oscillator, compared to tunnel diode. These may strongly improve the stability of oscillators, and therefore enhance the resolution of seismic techniques. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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