Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 7, 129–142, 2018
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 7, 129–142, 2018

Research article 28 Mar 2018

Research article | 28 Mar 2018

Investigation of a low-cost magneto-inductive magnetometer for space science applications

Leonardo H. Regoli1, Mark B. Moldwin1, Matthew Pellioni1, Bret Bronner2, Kelsey Hite1, Arie Sheinker3, and Brandon M. Ponder4 Leonardo H. Regoli et al.
  • 1Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  • 2Space Physics Research Laboratory, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  • 3Magnetic Sensing, Soreq Nuclear Research Center, Yavne, Israel
  • 4Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA), Novi, USA

Abstract. A new sensor for measuring low-amplitude magnetic fields that is ideal for small spacecraft is presented. The novel measurement principle enables the fabrication of a low-cost sensor with low power consumption and with measuring capabilities that are comparable to recent developments for CubeSat applications. The current magnetometer, a software-modified version of a commercial sensor, is capable of detecting fields with amplitudes as low as 8.7 nT at 40 Hz and 2.7 nT at 1 Hz, with a noise floor of 4 pT∕Hz at 1 Hz. The sensor has a linear response to less than 3 % over a range of ±100 000 nT. All of these features make the magneto-inductive principle a promising technology for the development of magnetic sensors for both space-borne and ground-based applications to study geomagnetic activity.

Short summary
The presence of magnetic fields in space dominate the way planets interact with different types of plasmas. Thus, measuring them is extremely important when studying space. We present an instrument capable of measuring magnetic fields at a fraction of the cost, power and size of traditional magnetometers. With this technology, a science-grade magnetometer for small satellites can be achieved, enabling the study of the space environment with large clusters of sensors in future missions.