ΔE-Effect Magnetic Field Sensors
Many conceivable biomedical and diagnostic applications require the detection of small-amplitude and low-frequency magnetic fields. Against this background, a magnetometer concept is investigated in this work based on the magnetoelastic ΔE effect. The ΔE effect causes the resonance frequency of a magnetoelastic resonator to detune in the presence of a magnetic field, which can be read-out electrically with an additional piezoelectric phase. Various microelectromechanical
resonators are experimentally analyzed in terms of the ΔE effect and signal-and-noise response. This response is highly complex because of the anisotropic and nonlinear coupled magnetic, mechanical, and electrical properties. Models are developed and extended where necessary to gain insights into the potentials and limits accompanying sensor design and operating parameters. Beyond the material and geometry parameters, we analyze the effect of different resonance modes, spatial property variations, and operating frequencies on sensitivity. Although a large ΔE effect is confirmed in the shear modulus, the sensitivity of classical cantilever resonators does not benefit from this effect. An approach utilizing surface acoustic shear-waves provides a solution and can detect small signals over a large bandwidth. Comprehensive analyses of the quality factor and piezoelectric material parameters indicate methods to increase sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio significantly. First exchange-biased ΔE-effect sensors pave the way for compact setups and arrays with a large number of sensor elements. With an extended signal-and-noise model, specific requirements are identified that could improve the signal-to-noise ratio. The insights gained lead to a new concept that can circumvent previous limitations. With the results and models, important contributions are made to the understanding and development of ΔE-effect sensors with prospects for improvements in the future.