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NIST Mini Sensor May ‘Change the Way We Live’

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2008

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Contact: Michael Baum

Miniature magnetic sensors made at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have won a spot on Technology Review’s annual list of 10 technologies “most likely to change the way we live.”

The atomic magnetometers, made by NIST physicist John Kitching and collaborators, are about the size of a grain of rice and require little power but are highly sensitive to very weak magnetic fields. Technology Review points out that tiny, inexpensive magnetometers could lead to portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and tools for detecting buried explosives or evaluating mineral deposits remotely. The magazine also notes NIST’s miniaturization of magnetic sensors could greatly expand their use in the coming decade.

Read the whole story at “TR10: Atomic Magnetometers—John Kitching’s tiny magnetic-field sensors will take MRI where it’s never gone before”. Recent NIST news releases on the mini sensor technology are available at “New NIST Mini-Sensor May Have Biomedical and Security Applications” and “‘NMR on a Chip’ Features NIST Magnetic Mini-Sensor”.