Radiation Resistant Fiber Optic Magnetic Field Sensor

Period of Performance: 02/17/2015 - 11/16/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Prime Photonics, LLC
1116 South Main Street Array
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Problem being solved: Research is increasingly trying to push the boundaries with respect to observing rare elemental isotopes encountered as a result of highly energetic cosmic events. These rare elements can be produced through naturally through events such as supernovae, but prove problematic to synthesize and observe in controlled laboratory settings. Rare isotopes can be produced through nuclear interactions, such as neutron capture or proton collisions, and subsequently separated and guided using sophisticated quadruple magnetic lenses. The energetic reactions required to create the isotopes generate radioactive decay byproducts. The combination of the gamma, neutron, and proton particles create a harsh environment that complicates observation and control of the magnetic fields required for beam steering. The neutron fluxes experienced in the beam pathway lead to significantly reduced lifetime and effectiveness of conventional liquid proton procession type magnetometers. How problem is addressed: Development of a radiation resistant magnetic field probe would allow in-situ monitoring of the magnetic fields while limiting the amount of recalibration and costly downtime to carefully remove the damaged magnetic field probes. A compact, all-optical magnetic field sensor capable of scalar magnetometry with low noise, high sensitivity, and a high threshold for radiation damage allows for direct observation of magnetic field strengths, and provides significant cost savings in terms of replacement and recalibration. Commercial applications and benefits: Medical treatments, such as treatments for cancer, stand to benefit from the new isotopes and the research on how they interact with nuclei. Rare isotopes may also -be able to provide safer, enhanced imaging and medical diagnostic tools. Cost reductions in isotope research and generation translate directly to increased understanding and decreased cost of implementation of rare isotope technologies. Keywords: Sensors, instrumentation, magnetometer, radiation resistant, isotope generation Summary for Congress: Prime Photonics will design and develop innovative low cost, long-life, radiation resistant magnetic sensors based on optical fibers. These sensors will reduce the cost of generating rare isotopes in high radiation environments.