Development of ultrasensitive optical magnetometers
A special medium, whose optical properties depend on the ambient magnetic field, is used to measure magnetic fields in an optical setup. With modern lasertechnique and fpga-based digital signal processing we build sensors that belong to the most sensitive available magnetometers. Compared to sensors based on superconduction (Superconducting Interference Devices SQUIDs), our sensors work at room temperature and their handling thus is much easier. The team investigates different aspects of optical magnetic sensors like the interaction between light and sensor medium, development and optimization of data processing and applied research for the clinical use of the technique.
Currently we concentrate on a clinical application, in which the sensors measure the magnetic field of the human heart (magnetocardiography, MCG). The MCG-signal is produced by electrical current that regulates the contractions of the heart. These can be measured non-invasively and contactless with a magnetometer near the chest of the patient. In collaboration with a medical company we work on a project to demonstrate, that the optical sensors can be used in a clinical environment and that such a system has advantages for heart diagnosis.
The second application for our magnetometers is the usage in the measurement of the electrical dipole moment of the neutron. This serves several basic problems, among them the question concerning the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe.
01.11.2011 - 31.10.2014, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project nr. 0316069B) "KMU-Innovativ-8: Optical multi-channel-vectormagnetometer in a shielding room for clinical application"
Lembke, G., Stumpf, M., Erné, S. N., Bison, G.: Towards Clinical MCG with Room-Temperature Sensors, Biomag 2010, Dubrovnik. IFMBE Proceedings 28: 62-65, 2010.
Hofer, A., Bison, G., Castagna, N., Di Domenico, G., Knowles, P., Lembke, G., Weis, A.: Towards an optical multichannel cardiomagnetometer for clinical use, Biomag 2008, Sapporo 2008.