ESF Thüringen - Liste der Vorhaben Förderperiode 2014-2020

Magnetooptics - MO-Sensors

Magneto-optic visualization of magnetic fields

Our highly sensitive magneto-optical sensors are the basis for the visualization of magnetic fields and are available in sizes up to 3 inches. Applications for the sensors can be found in forensics and quality control of magnetic materials.


Physical Background

The magneto-optic principle is based on the Faraday effect. It describes the rotation of the polarization plane of linearly polarized light when passing through a transparent medium. With a closer look, linearly polarized light consists of superposition of a left and a right-circularly polarized wave with same frequency and phase. When light is passing a magneto-optical medium on which a magnetic field is applied parallel to the direction of the light, it splits into two oppositely rotating circularly polarized waves. For the two partial waves, it causes phase shifting, because they have different refractive indices and different speeds. Their frequency remains the same. This shift results in the rotation of the polarization plane. The different angles of rotation depending on the local magnetic field strength result in contrast-differences which can be evaluated visually. Thus, a direct real-time visualization of quasi-static magnetic fields over the entire sensor surface is achieved.


Sensor production

To produce the sensors, Bismuth substituted Yttrium Iron garnet layers are deposited on a substrate by liquid phase epitaxy. To get a best magneto-optical sensor out of the grown garnet layers these layers additional processes are necessary:


  • Surface preparation by polishing process
  • Sensor dicing for application-specific geometrie
  • mirroring of sensor surface
  • Sensor processing by a hard coating to prevent mechanical abrasion of the sensor

Product portfolio of the MO-Sensors: 

Typ: A

Fieldrange: 0.05 ... 2 kA/m

Application and testing: magnetic stripe cards, hard magnetic ink, steels, audio tapes

Typ: B

Fieldrange: 0.05 ... 30 kA/m

Application and testing:  magnetic stripe cards, polymer bound magnets, audio tapes

Typ: C

Fieldrange: 0.05 ... 130 kA/m

Application and testing: magnetic encoders, grain structures and stray field distributions of permanent magnets and polymer bound magnets

Typ: D

Fieldrange: 0.03 ... 6 kA/m (speziell für Bias)

Application and testing:  magnetic bias-fields of magnetic ink (documents, banknotes) and steels (car serial numbers)


Here you can find our magneto-optic products with integrated MO-Sensors. Our magneto-optic sensors can be customized to your individual needs.


Schematic graph of
the Faraday rotation with

d = length of light path through the substrate
B = magnetic flux density
V = Verdet-constant
ß = angle of rotation


Setup of a magnetooptical sensor element