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Atomic physics

A new spin on magnetometry

The capability to measure small, localized magnetic fields is valuable in biology as well as physics. A new device, based on spin-polarized alkali atoms, achieves better sensitivity and resolution than before.

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Figure 1: An 'all-optical' magnetometer.


  1. Kominis, I. K., Kornack, T. W., Allred, J. C. & Romalis, M. V. Nature 422, 596–599 (2003).

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  2. Bison, G., Wynands, R. & Weis, A. Appl. Phys. B doi:10.1007/s00340-003-1120-z (2003).

  3. Kornack, T. W. & Romalis, M. V. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 253002 (2002).

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Correspondence to Dmitry Budker.

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Budker, D. A new spin on magnetometry. Nature 422, 574–575 (2003).

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