News

VTT develops a simple but extremely sensitive magnetometer

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an innovative magnetometer that can replace conventional technology.

 has developed an innovative magnetometer that can replace conventional technology in applications such as neuroimaging, mineral exploration and molecular diagnostics. Its manufacturing costs are between 70 and 80 per cent lower than those of traditional technology, and the device is not as sensitive to external magnetic fields as its predecessors. The design of the magnetometer also makes it easier to integrate into measuring systems.

Magnetometers are sensors that measure magnetic fields or changes in magnetic fields. The kinetic inductance magnetometer developed by VTT makes use of the dependence of superconductors’ electrical properties on magnetic fields. This has allowed research scientists to develop an innovative sensor element which is considerably more simplistic than conventional SQUID sensors. The new magnetometer is based on a single patterned thin film. It can be fabricated in a single-phase process unlike SQUID sensors, which require a layered structure and a multi-phase fabrication process.

The manufacturing costs of VTT’s new magnetometer are estimated to be between 70 and 80 per cent lower than those of a corresponding SQUID sensor. It is also less sensitive to external disturbances such as the earth’s magnetic field or electrical systems than its predecessors. This property will be useful in the development of new medical imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging based on ultra-low magnetic fields where the measuring fields can be commensurate with the earth’s magnetic field.

Highly sensitive magnetometers are needed in medicine, for example, to detect minuscule changes in magnetic fields caused by nerve signals. In the context of neuroimaging this technique is called magnetoencephalography (MEG), and it can be used to locate pathological activity in patients with epilepsy who require surgical treatment, to diagnose autism or to map brain activity more generally. Magnetometers are also used in the mining industry for mineral exploration, in industrial quality control and in certain security applications.

VTT’s innovative magnetometer is expected to hit the market in a few years’ time.

A scientific article on the subject has been published in the esteemed Nature Communications journal: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140910/ncomms5872/full/ncomms5872.html

This research is conducted as a part of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Low Temperature Quantum Phenomena and Devices.

Additional information: Juha Hassel, Senior Scientist, +358 20 722 6771

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

Elderly people spending time outdoors in the yard and garden, a student work Outdoors by Luiza Sevele
Research & Art, Studies Published:

Flexibility and community support for people with memory problems

What are the future housing solutions for people with memory decline, and what should they be?
Aalto_University_Industrial_Internet_AIIC_alynosturi_Smart_Crane_13-1-2017_photo_Mikko_Raskinen_009.jpg
Research & Art Published:

Teaching and Research infrastructure – Aalto University School of Engineering

Creating sustainable solutions requires up-to-date infrastructure. School of Engineering has cutting-edge infrastructure for research, teaching and innovation, including unique, nationally significant research facilities.
Suomen Akatemia
Research & Art Published:

Changes to the Open Access Publishing Requirements of the Academy of Finland

The Academy of Finland has announced it will require Plan S compliant immediate open access publishing from projects that have received funding from calls opened 1.1.2021 onwards.
Learning Centre, Main lobby
Research & Art Published:

Renovation of the service desk is starting in Harald Herlin Learning Centre

The service desk is going under renovation starting from 27 June. We apologize for the noise.