An inexpensive and highly ac-
curate “spintronic” magnetic
field sensor is shown here.
The entire device, on a printed
circuit board, measures about
0.8 inches by 1.2 inches. But
the part that actually detects
magnetic fields is the reddish-
orange thin-film semiconductor
– essentially “plastic paint” –
near the centre-right of the
device; © Christoph Boehme/
University of Utah
The new kind of magnetic-resonance magnetometer also resists heat and degradation, works at room temperature and never needs to be calibrated, physicists Christoph Boehme, Will Baker and colleagues report.
The magnetic-sensing thin film is an organic semiconductor polymer named MEH-PPV. Boehme says it really is nothing more than an orange-coloured “electrically conducting, magnetic field-sensing plastic paint that is dirt cheap. We measure magnetic fields highly accurately with a drop of plastic paint, which costs just as little as drop of regular paint.” The orange spot is only about 5-by-5 millimetres, and the part that actually detects magnetic fields is only 1-by-1 millimetres. This organic semiconductor paint is deposited on a thin glass substrate, which then is mounted onto a circuit board with that measures about 20-by-30 millimetres.
Boehme is considering forming a spinoff company to commercialize the sensors, on which a patent is pending. In the study, the researchers note that “measuring absolute magnetic fields is crucial for many scientific and technological applications.
“There are sensors out there already, but they’re just not nearly as good – stable and accurate – and are much more expensive to make,” Saam says.
Boehme believes the devices could be on the market in three years or less – if they can be combined with other new technology to make them faster. Speed is their one drawback, taking up to a few seconds to read a magnetic field.
COMPAMED.de; Source: University of Utah