Lorentz Force Magnetometer having a Resonator
There is an increasing need for miniature magnetometers for mapping magnetic fields in space and in industrial and environmental applications. The trend has been constantly toward smaller size, lower power consumption, and lower cost models having similar or better performance. Recent developments in piezoresistive cantilevers and micro magnetometers have produced devices that in some stages require intricate processing. Sensitivities, defined as the minimum detectable field change are in the range of 1 milli Tesla to 1 micro Tesla.
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory has developed and patented a technology utilizing a Lorentz force magnetometer with a resonator. This invention is a simple, small, lightweight, low-cost and low-power consumption sensor. The magnetometer is based on the classical xylophone resonator, which is intrinsically linear and has a wide dynamic range that can measure magnetic fields over ranges from nanotesla to tesla. The magnetometer comprises a resonator such as a bar supported by 2 wires placed at the nodal points of the fundamental resonance frequency. The wires also supply the current of this frequency to the resonator. In the presence of a magnetic field, the Lorentz forces cause the resonator to vibrate. The amplitude of this vibration is proportional to a vector component of the magnetic field. The motion of the resonator is detected using a number of possible methods including optical bean deflection.
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