Researchers from ITMO University and Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences are working on a microwave antenna that would lead to a creation of super-sensitive magnetic field detectors. Aside from having high sensitivity, these devices should operate at low input and at room temperature, and also be compact and cheap.

The main challenge for the scientists was to come up with a technology that would allow them to perfectly control the electronic spins in the entire volume of commercially available nanodiamond which is a crucial component of an antenna. They decided to use dialectic resonators in their antenna that respond to an input power and then synchronize the electronic spins of nanodiamond by creating strong uniform magnetic field around it and thus provide high sensitivity.

To make magnometers of an antenna even more sensitive the scientists considered an advantage of so-called nanodiamond defects – nitrogen atom replacements for initial carbon atom in nanodiamond’s crystal structure. Such defects may greatly improve sensitivity of sensors of an antenna. As one of the researchers Polina Kapitanova said: the results that were shown during experimental tests were breakthrough and the team is actually going towards their goal.

Where is the money?

Exploring the ways to study magnetic fields characteristics better is actually quite necessary for lots of types of applications from medicine to navigation. For example, it can be applied in healthcare monitoring where there is a need to calculate neuron’s activity in the brain and diagnose such diseases as Alzheimer or epilepsy which is basically the common tasks for magnetoencephalography devises. This is why healthcare industry now is a rapidly growing sector of a magnetometer market, along with such spheres as aerospace, consumer electronics. The latter one appears to be the most prolific, being responsible for about 20% of market share since there is a huge demand for smartphones with decent navigation abilities. Overall, at the moment North America and Europe are the leaders of the production and globally the investments in this market reached $8.25 billion in 2016 with about $3 billion spent in North America only.

The techers: Polina Kapitanova. (Facebook, LinkedInemail)

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