Sensors based on optically-pumped magnetometers allow the development of room-temperature, wearable imaging systems for biomagnetism detection due to their excellent sensitivity, with applications such as Magnetoencephalography and Brain-Computer Interfaces. The small size of sensors based on microfabricated vapor cell technology promises high spatial resolution. The high sensitivity also opens up the possibility to use OPM sensors in other applications such as Very Low Frequency communications and ultrasensitive microwave detection.
Optically-pumped magnetometers have demonstrated magnetic field measurements as precise as the best superconducting quantum interference device magnetometers. Our group develops miniature alkali atom-based magnetic sensors using microfabrication technology. Our sensors do not require cryogenic cooling, and can be positioned very close to the sample, making these sensors an attractive option for development in the medical community. We will present our latest chip-scale optically-pumped gradiometer developed for array applications to image magnetic fields from the brain noninvasively. These developments should lead to improved spatial resolution, and potentially sensitive measurements in unshielded environments.