School on High-Sensitivity Magnetometers Held in Normandy, France
October 1, 2007 (H9) - An autumn school on high-sensitivity magnetometers and their applications was held at Blainville-sur-Mer in Normandy, France on September 24 to 28, 2007. The school, third in a series, was organized by CNRS and sponsored by GDR Ondes, ENSICAEN and University of Caen. The school was run by Prof. Christophe Dolabdjian and his collaborators from GREYC - Electronic Team. The school was dedicated to Ph.D. students, researchers and engineers involved in the field of magnetic sensors. The final program can be found here. More details on the school and attendance statistics are provided by introductory slides. Participants of the school are able to view slides of all presentations at: http://www.greyc.ensicaen.fr/magschool2007 upon providing their login and password. Figure 1 shows the attentive audience, and Fig. 2 the panel on sensors efficiently moderated by Dick Pappas from NIST, Boulder, CO, USA (standing at the screen).
The program offered an excellent review of many types of sensors and many useful overviews of their applications, current and anticipated. A vision of possible future spintronic sensors was also offered. The writer of this note was particularly impressed by the high potential of magnetoelectric laminate sensors (PZT-fiber layer laminated between two thin, high permeability magnetostrictive FeBSiC foils) presented by Dwight Viehland from Virginia Tech, VA, USA (Fig. 3). They appear to offer advantages in a broad range of applications, also due to their “persistence”, i.e., their totally passive nature and stand-by readiness. Overall, continuing progress in room temperature sensors appears to steadily reduce the sensitivity chasm between their and superconducting sensors’ (SQUIDs’) performance. The optically pumped atomic SERF magnetometers covered by the lecture of Mike Romalis from Princeton, NJ, USA, show low-frequency femtotesla sensitivity, also in application demonstrations (low-field NMR and magnetoencephalography). Present status of SQUIDs was covered by an excellent lecture of Dietmar Drung from PTB, Berlin, Germany. Some biomagnetic SQUID applications were covered by another lecture. In addition to lectures and posters, hands-on training in sensors characterization conducted by Christophe Dolabdjian (Fig. 4) and Sebastien Saenz was offered to graduate students.
School participants were lodged in a vacation village at the Blainville-sur-Mer local beach with a view on an oyster farm. All school functions were also held in the village facilities, which helped developing good contacts and a spirit of camaraderie. Good French food, culminated by a sumptuous seafood banquet, also contributed to an excellent atmosphere. An excursion to St. Malo, the city of pirates, and the famous isle of St. Michel rounded up the recreational aspect of this successful school.