Development of a highly sensitive optically pumped atomic magnetometer for biomagnetic field measurements: A phantom study

Shuji Taue, Yasuyuki Sugihara, Tetsuo Kobayashi, Sunao Ichihara, Kiyoshi Ishikawa, Natsuhiko Mizutani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a highly sensitive optically pumped atomic magnetometer for measuring biomagnetic fields from the human body noninvasively. The sensor head was a cubic Pyrex glass cell containing potassium metal and buffer gases. A pump laser beam for spin-polarizing potassium atoms and a probe laser beam for detecting magneto-optical rotation crossed at right angles in the cell, which was heated in an oven to vaporize potassium atoms. The sensitivity of the magnetometer reached to 10100 $\hbox{fT/Hz}^{1/2}$ at frequencies below several hundred hertz. To test system performance, we made a phantom which models the human brain, taking into account the contribution of distributed electric currents. First, we tested the phantom by a 306-channel whole-head MEG system and confirmed good agreement of the measured field distributions with theoretical calculations. Subsequently, we measured magnetic field distribution with the phantom scanning two-dimensionally above the oven. The signal source location was estimated by least squares fitting to the measured distribution. The goodness of fit value between the measured and the theoretical distributions was 97.9%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5458052
Pages (from-to)3635-3638
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Atomic magnetometer
  • Biomagnetic field
  • Optical pumping
  • Phantom measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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