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16 April 2008 Advances in magnetometry
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Innovations may lead to magnetic sensors with superior performance. Examples of this are the chip scale atomic magnetometer, magnetic tunnel junctions with MgO barriers, and a device for minimizing the effect of 1/f noise, the MEMS flux concentrator. In the chip scale atomic magnetometer, researchers have been able to fabricate the light source, optics, heater, optical cell, and photodiode detector in a stack that passes through a silicon wafer. Theoretical and subsequent experimental work has led to the observation of magnetoresistance values of 400% at room temperature in magnetic tunnel junctions with MgO barriers. The MEMS flux concentrator has the potential to increase the sensitivity of magnetic sensors at low frequencies by more than an order of magnitude. The MEMS flux concentrator does this by shifting the operating frequency to higher frequencies where the 1/f noise is much smaller. The shift occurs because the motion of flux concentrators on MEMS flaps modulates the field at kHz frequencies at the position of the sensor.
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A. S. Edelstein, J. Burnette, G. A. Fischer, S. F. Cheng, W. F. Egelhoff Jr., P. W. T. Pong, and E. R. Nowak "Advances in magnetometry", Proc. SPIE 6963, Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications X, 696315 (16 April 2008);

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