Magnetic Detection

The research focus of this group is on developing novel magnetic methods for studying magnetic interactions with human beings and bio-materials. It is a multidisciplinary research group operating at the interfaces of physics and medicine.

The magnetic fields that are presently used in medicine range from ~3 Tesla, in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system, down to ~1 femto-Tesla (1 fT = 10‑15 T), which is a typical detection limit in a Magneto-EncephaloGram (MEG) system measuring the activity of a human brain. The field present in an MRI-system is more than 20,000× as strong as the naturally present magnetic field of the earth of ~50 micro-Tesla (50 μT = 50×10-6 T). Compared to the magnetic field of the earth, the magnetic signals measured around our head are extremely small. typically 10,000,000,000× smaller.

To generate a magnetic field sufficiently strong for MRI and to measure a magnetic signal sufficiently sensitive for MEG, superconducting systems are required. Superconducting devices can only be operated at temperatures far below room temperature. At present almost all MRI and MEG systems placed in hospitals are operated at a temperature near 4 Kelvin (= -269 ºC). For the technology development the NIM group collaborates with its "Low Temperature" colleagues in the recently founded EMS and ICE groups.

Principal Investigator:
Dr. ir. Bennie ten Haken


Research Projects: