Magnetic detection has become a common technology in our daily life. For reliable sensing the magnetic route proves to be superior to the electrical alternative in many applications. In cars magnetic sensors are used to sense motor functions and to the check status of the driver and the passengers. Also all mobile communication in our daily life (GSM, RFID, NFC and WLAN) detects subtitle variations in the magnetic field. As a result a huge number of magnetic sensors is produced and applied worldwide (>109 per year).
Magnetic techniques such as MEG and MCG have been developed for measurements on the electrophysiology, but these are still mainly used in research and only a limited number of pre-clinical applications. In clinical practice the electrical route (EEG/ECG) is still the preferred route, despite the complex hassle with the electrical contacts. This is because the requirement of a cost-intensive and patient unfriendly Magnetically Shielded Room for an MEG or an MCG exam is a formidable hurdle.
The magnetic detection group tries to overcome this hurdle by implementing a handheld magnetic sensor that can work outside such a shielded room. The Diffmag sensor is the first attempt at such a sensor which proved to be clinically useful for detecting iron oxide particles in sentinel lymph nodes.