Publications by authors named "Nicholas Fuhr"

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100 pT/cm single-point MEMS magnetic gradiometer from a commercial accelerometer.

Microsyst Nanoeng 2020 10;6:71. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215 USA.

Magnetic sensing is present in our everyday interactions with consumer electronics and demonstrates the potential for the measurement of extremely weak biomagnetic fields, such as those of the heart and brain. In this work, we leverage the many benefits of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices to fabricate a small, low-power, and inexpensive sensor whose resolution is in the range of biomagnetic fields. At present, biomagnetic fields are measured only by expensive mechanisms such as optical pumping and superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), suggesting a large opportunity for MEMS technology in this work. The prototype fabrication is achieved by assembling micro-objects, including a permanent micromagnet, onto a postrelease commercial MEMS accelerometer using a pick-and-place technique. With this system, we demonstrate a room-temperature MEMS magnetic gradiometer. In air, the sensor's response is linear, with a resolution of 1.1 nT cm, spans over 3 decades of dynamic range to 4.6 µT cm, and is capable of off-resonance measurements at low frequencies. In a 1 mTorr vacuum with 20 dB magnetic shielding, the sensor achieves a 100 pT cm resolution at resonance. This resolution represents a 30-fold improvement compared with that of MEMS magnetometer technology and a 1000-fold improvement compared with that of MEMS gradiometer technology. The sensor is capable of a small spatial resolution with a magnetic sensing element of 0.25 mm along its sensitive axis, a >4-fold improvement compared with that of MEMS gradiometer technology. The calculated noise floor of this platform is 110 fT cm Hz, and thus, these devices hold promise for both magnetocardiography (MCG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) applications.
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August 2020