Important, established geophysical methods used for ground exploration and raw material exploration require magnetic field detector systems of the highest sensitivity. The optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) being explored in this project can provide such high magnetic field resolution. However, a limitation of current commercial OPMs is the dependence of the measurement on the orientation of the sensor in the magnetic field. Within this project, a new approach to OPMs will be studied and tested that has greatly reduced directional dependence and high absolute accuracy of magnetic field measurement. Such an OPM can provide much more precise measurements in moving operations due to its alignment invariance and is thus highly interesting e.g. for resource exploration on moving platforms. In addition, the operation mode offers the potency to measure the magnetic field not only highly sensitive, but also with previously unattained absolute accuracy. This is crucial for data quality in fundamental physics experiments and geomagnetic observatories worldwide. Dr. Zoran Grujić from Institute of Physics, University of Belgrade (UB), Serbia and German project co-director Dr. Theo Scholtes from Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (Leibniz-IPHT) are collaborating in the project. Through complementary work by Leibniz-IPHT and UB, the new mode will be explored in detail and, for the first time, an OPM demonstrator will be built and evaluated in the laboratory and in the field. Parts of the implementation of the electronics required for the demonstrator will be carried out by a spin-off of the UB, which already has experience in the creation of suitable special electronics modules. The already proven cooperation between the scientists of both countries and institutions will be further strengthened by regular mutual guest visits of the project partners, jointly organized workshops and publications.

The project is funded by DLR, IB BMBF under the number 01DS21006.