Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A microfabricated photonic magnetometer



Jan Preusser, Svenja A. Knappe, Vladislav Gerginov, John E. Kitching


A system for sensing magnetic fields is proposed, composed of an array of passive microfabricated alkali atom sensor heads coupled to a control unit using only optical interconnects. The optical coupling can be achieved by either free-space transmission of the interrogation and heating light, or through optical fiber links. The temperature of the sensor can be stabilized by monitoring the reflected or transmitted light power near DC while the magnetic field information is deduced simultaneously by detecting a modulation on the light power. A microfabricated sensor head, with a vapor cell of interior volume of 1 mm3 and fiber links connecting it to a control unit, is demonstrated experimentally. When operated in a scalar sensor mode in a field with a magnitude close to the earth’s field, a sensitivity of 3 pT/Hz1/2 was measured. In a low-field environment the sensor can be operated as a directional magnetometer with a sensitivity of 130 fT/Hz1/2. The design allows for arrays of a large number of small low-power sensors fabricated in an inexpensive way with widely variable sensor sizes and spacings.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics
Conference Dates
June 14-15, 2009
Conference Location
Baltimore, MD


atomic magnetometer, MEMS, atomic spectroscopy, remote sensing


Preusser, J. , Knappe, S. , Gerginov, V. and Kitching, J. (2009), A microfabricated photonic magnetometer, Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Baltimore, MD (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created June 14, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017