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Optical Magnetometry

Working group 8.21


Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

MEG is a non-invasive and contact-free method of measurement to investigate the electrical activity of the human brain. During this process, SQUID sensors are used to record the tiny biomagnetic signals that are produced by electrical currents from neuron populations in the brain. The helmet MEG system of PTB comprises 128 SQUID sensors arranged in a spherical geometry in order to catch activity from many patches of the cerebral cortex. MEG is employed together with Charité University Hospital and other partners for the further development of biomagnetic metrology as well as neurologic and psychiatric diagnostics.

MEG with optically pumped magnetometers

In addition to SQUIDs, the Working Group increasingly uses so-called optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) for magnetoencephalography. The main advantage of OPMs is their greater flexibility. The individual sensors have a volume of just a few cubic centimeters and can be combined in almost any arrays. In this way, individualized sensor arrays can be realized that are optimized for each measurement task.

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