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Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 4 | Copyright
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 7, 265-276, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Oct 2018

Research article | 15 Oct 2018

A hybrid fluxgate and search coil magnetometer concept using a racetrack core

David M. Miles1,2, B. Barry Narod3, David K. Milling2, Ian R. Mann2, David Barona2, and George B. Hospodarsky1 David M. Miles et al.
  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 3Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Abstract. A proof-of-concept hybrid magnetometer is presented, which simultaneously operates as both a fluxgate and a search coil, allowing it to sense the magnetic field from DC to 2kHz using a single sensor. Historically, such measurements would normally require two dedicated instruments, and each would typically require deployment on its own dedicated boom as the instruments mutually interfere. A racetrack fluxgate core combined with a long solenoidal sense winding is shown to be moderately effective as a search coil magnetometer, and the search coil effect can be captured without introducing significant hardware complexity beyond what is already present in a typical fluxgate instrument. Several methods of optimising the search coil action of the hybrid instrument are compared with the best method providing sensitivity and noise performance between comparably sized traditional air-core and solid-core search coil instruments. This hybrid sensor topology should miniaturise to platforms such as CubeSats for which multiple boom-mounted instruments are generally impractical, so a single hybrid instrument providing modest, but scientifically useful, sensitivity from DC tokHz frequencies would be beneficial.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We present a proof-of-concept space-flight instrument that can simultaneously make measurements of both the low- and high-frequency local magnetic field. Previously, this would have required two separate instruments that would normally have had to be mounted separately on long deployable booms to keep them from interfering. This new hybrid instrument is expected to be particularly useful on extremely small spacecraft, such as CubeSats, which can only accommodate a few instruments.
We present a proof-of-concept space-flight instrument that can simultaneously make measurements...