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Rabu, 22 April 2009

"Kitching" Atomic Magnetometers


Magnetic fields are everywhere, from the human body with a metal buried in the mine. Even molecules such as proteins to produce their own magnetic fields. Both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a description of the body, and NMR spectroscopy (NMR) studies of protein and other substances, such as oil, depending on the magnetic information. But this current sensor to detect the weak, but significant magnetic fields are weak. Some portable and inexpensive, but not very sensitive, very sensitive, but also other stationary, expensive and power.

Kitching Now John, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, CO, is the development of small, low-power magnetic sensors almost as sensitive as the big, expensive land. About the size of a thick grain rice, called the atomic magnetometer sensors. Kitching hope that one day in the portable MRI machine is faster and cheaper detectors for blind pedestrians.

Small sensor that consists of three parts, vertically in the silicon chip. Ready for infrared laser and infrared photo-detector silicon sandwich and a glass cube with the evaporated cesium atoms. In the absence of a magnetic field, the laser light by cesium atom. Even before the very weak magnetic fields when the atom to change, so that they absorb light in proportion to the strength of the field. This amendment is supported by photo cells. "This is a simple configuration with highly good sensitivity," Kitching says.

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