Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Multimode Magnetic Field and Position Sensor from Oxford University


Researchers at Oxford University’s Physics Department have developed an extraordinarily versatile proximity sensor for the detection of objects, composed of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, ceramics, glasses and plastics. This new device could be used as a position or speed sensor in automotive suspension, gearbox and engine management systems, amongst many other uses.

Researchers had identified the need for a relatively simple, but highly versatile proximity sensor to detect the motion of a wide variety of metals and non-metals. Existing proximity sensors tended to rely on magnetic induction, reluctance or Hall effect devices for their performance characteristics, which in automotive ignition sensors can lead to poor slow running performance.

The Oxford invention consists of an electronic oscillator circuit, an antenna, and a discrete sensor element, all of which could be encapsulated into a single compact unit. The sensor is able to detect any relative movement between the object to be sensed and the sensor by detecting the perturbation of the electromagnetic field generated by the antenna. The sensor is highly versatile and can simultaneously detect changes in the both the electric or magnetic properties of the target object. The sensor itself requires no adjustment to change modes and generates a signal regardless of which parameter of the target object is changing. Tests have shown that a wide range of materials can be detected, ranging from ferromagnets, non-ferromagnets and non-ferrous metals, to ceramics and plastics.

A prototype of the sensor, which has already been tested as an ignition-timing sensor on an internal combustion engine, offers a high sensitivity, high output unit. The new sensor is also capable of detecting rotating magnets, ferrous wheels and brake discs, non-magnetic metal-toothed wheels, and even plastic gearwheels. The shape of the output signal from the sensor device is square, well-defined, and speed independent, unlike the variable reluctance sensor it would replace. The sensor element can tolerate temperatures in excess of 1000 oC for long periods and has an excellent signal to noise ratio. In mass production it would be cheap to produce and compact in size.

Other potential applications for the sensor, which is the subject of a patent application from Isis Innovation, Oxford University’s technology transfer company, include detection of changes in the flow of inhomogeneous liquids, such as blood/saline, water-in-oil or oil-in-water mixtures. Companies interested in exploiting this technology in any number of applications are welcome to contact Isis Innovation.

Jennifer Johnson | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht New process for cell transfection in high-throughput screening
21.03.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>