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Designing a Magnetometer

Owens, John Claiborne (2013)
Honors Thesis (37 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Urazhdin, Sergei
Committee Members: Brody, Jed ; Huynh, B H Vincent ; Soria, Jose
Research Fields: Engineering, Materials Science; Physics, Condensed Matter
Keywords: magnetometer; magnetization; vibrating; sample; platinum
Program: College Honors Program, Physics
Permanent url:


We have previously investigated magnetic properties of platinum thin films [1]. In order to continue measurements on the magnetic properties of platinum, we needed an instrument to measure the magnetization of thin films. This paper discusses our design and construction of a vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM). This device measures the magnetic moment of a sample by vibrating the sample between pick-up coils. The induced EMF in the coils is proportional to the magnetic moment of the sample. We control the frequency and amplitude of vibrations by using a modified speaker as a vibrator connected to a source of oscillating voltage. At first, we induced magnetization in our samples by using electromagnets to generate an external field, and the VSM we built was able to measure magnetization of large samples. The current that powers the electromagnets produced too much magnetic noise, so we are redesigning the VSM using permanent magnets instead. This design achieves much lower noise. Future work will include finishing the final design of the magnetometer and making measurements of the magnetization of thin film ferromagnets.

Table of Contents

I Introduction 1
1 Magnetization 1
2 Methods of Measuring Magnetization 3
3 The Vibrating Sample Magnetometer 4
4 My Project 5
4.1 Background and Motivation 5
4.2 Designing a VSM 7
II Methodology and Results 12
5 Powering the Speaker 12
6 Mechanical Assembly 14
7 Pick-up Coils 16
8 Testing the Magnetometer 18
9 New Design 23
III Conclusion and Future Work 25


application/pdf Honors Thesis 37 pages (593 KB) [Access copy of Honors Thesis]
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