Chip-scale atomic magnetometer

Schwindt, Peter D. D.; Knappe, Svenja; Shah, Vishal; Hollberg, Leo; Kitching, John; Liew, Li-Anne; Moreland, John
December 2004
Applied Physics Letters;12/27/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 26, p6409
Academic Journal
Using the techniques of microelectromechanical systems, we have constructed a small low-power magnetic sensor based on alkali atoms. We use a coherent population trapping resonance to probe the interaction of the atoms’ magnetic moment with a magnetic field, and we detect changes in the magnetic flux density with a sensitivity of 50 pT Hz-1/2 at 10 Hz. The magnetic sensor has a size of 12 mm3 and dissipates 195 mW of power. Further improvements in size, power dissipation, and magnetic field sensitivity are immediately foreseeable, and such a device could provide a hand-held battery-operated magnetometer with an atom shot-noise limited sensitivity of 0.05 pT Hz-1/2.


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