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Magnetoelectric magnetic field sensors

  • Dwight Viehland (a1), Manfred Wuttig (a2), Jeffrey McCord (a3) and Eckhard Quandt (a4)

Abstract

Highly sensitive magnetic field sensors using magnetoelectric (ME) bulk and thin-film composites consisting of magnetostrictive and piezoelectric phases are discussed. Examples include PZT (Pb(ZrxTi1–x)O3) fibers and AlN as the piezoelectric component and amorphous magnetostrictive material, respectively, or their multilayers. Additionally, self-organized ME composites are discussed. These ME sensors offer a passive (consuming little to no power) nature, high sensitivities, large effect enhancements at mechanical resonances, and large linear dynamic ranges. At mechanical resonance, limits of detection in the fT/Hz1/2 range can be achieved. Below the mechanical resonance frequency, the sensitivity can be enhanced through frequency conversion using alternating current magnetic or electric fields or by using magnetic field-induced changes of the elastic properties, the delta-E effect, where E represents Young’s modulus. Noise floors of about 1–100 pT/Hz1/2 at a frequency of f = 1 Hz can be obtained depending on the sensor size and the operational mode. For applications in unshielded environments, approaches to suppress acoustic and vibrational cross-sensitivities are presented.

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