18 Jan 2022
18 Jan 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GI.

Design and operation of a long-term monitoring system for spectral electrical impedance tomography (sEIT)

Maximilian Weigand1, Egon Zimmermann2, Valentin Michels1, Johan Alexander Huisman3, and Andreas Kemna1 Maximilian Weigand et al.
  • 1Geophysics Section, Institute of Geosciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 2Electronic Systems (ZEA 2), Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics, and Analytics, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany
  • 3Agrosphere (IBG 3), Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany

Abstract. Spectral electrical impedance tomography (sEIT) is increasingly used to characterize the structure of subsurface systems. Additionally, petrophysical and biogeophysical processes are characterized and monitored using sEIT. The method combines multiple, spatially distributed, spectroscopic measurements with tomographic inversion algorithms to obtain images of the complex electrical resistivity distribution in the subsurface at various frequencies. Spectral data, as well as polarization measurements provide additional information about the systems under investigation, and can be used to reduce ambiguities that occur if only the in-phase resistivity values are analysed. However, spectral impedance measurements are very sensitive to details of the measurement setup, as well as external noise and error components. Despite promising technical progress in improving measurement quality, as well as progress in the static characterisation and understanding of electrical polarisation signatures of the subsurface, long-term monitoring attempts are still rare. Yet, measurement targets often show inherent non-stationarity that would require such approaches for a proper system characterisation. With the aim of improving operating foundations for similar endeavours, we here report on the design and field deployment of a permanently installed monitoring system for sEIT data. The specific aim of this monitoring installation is the characterisation of crop root evolution over a full growing season, requiring multiple measurements per day over multiple months to capture relevant system dynamics. In this contribution, we discuss the general layout and design of the monitoring system, including the core measurement system, additional on-site equipment, required corrections to improve data quality for high frequencies, data management, and remote processing facilities used to analyse the generated data. The choice and installation of electrodes, cables, and measurement configurations are discussed, as well as quality parameters used for the continuous assessment of system functioning and data quality. Exemplary analysis results of the first season of operation highlight the importance of continuous quality control. It is also found that proper cable elevation decreased capacitive leakage currents and in combination with the correction of inductive effects lead to consistent tomographic results up to 1 kHz measurement frequency. Overall, the successful operation of an sEIT monitoring system over multiple months with multiple daily tomographic measurements was achieved.

Maximilian Weigand et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gi-2021-36', Andrew Binley, 18 Feb 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on gi-2021-36', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Apr 2022

Maximilian Weigand et al.

Maximilian Weigand et al.


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Short summary
Construction, operation and analysis of an sEIT field-monitoring setup with high spatial and temporal resolution is presented. Electromagnetic induction errors are corrected, allowing the recovery of images of in-phase conductivity and electrical polarization of up to 1 kHz.