Digital sensors based on microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology first emerged on the market in the late 1990s and were being utilized on commercial projects as early as 2002. While these sensors were lauded for their unique technical properties, the reviews of their performance have been mixed. In recent years, these sensors have gained new attention due to their low-frequency response, and many fundamental aspects of the digital sensor have undergone dramatic changes as well. These technologies have advanced to the stage that fourth- and fifth-generation technology is now available and showing great promise. In 2015, extensive comparative testing was completed in the open desert, using carefully controlled field experiments to demonstrate differences in the raw responses between digital MEMS sensors and conventional analog sensors in a production environment. Testing results reveal the differences in low-frequency performance of the sensors. This low-frequency response was of limited importance prior to the push for broadband seismic on land. However, with growing recognition of the benefits of broadband acquisition and vibrator sweeps beginning at frequencies as low as 1 Hz, interest is being reignited in the unique properties that set the digital sensor apart from its analog cousins.

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