It's the angle

Magnetic Sensors

What are the properties of magnetic ultra-thin layers? This was the original question DESY scientists set out to answer through experiments on the P01 beamline at PETRA III.


Today, this research question is being funded by the Helmholtz Validation Fund in order to develop new magnetic sensors in cooperation with an industrial partner. This is a perfect example of the industrial applicability of findings from basic research. Modern life would be inconceivable without sensors, whose applications include electronic systems, automation of production lines, location determination, reading of information stored on hard drives, and active safety in the automotive sector.


Microstructured magnetic sensors have revolutionized measurement and information technology. Peter Grünberg and Albert Fert were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007 for their insights into the way these sensors work.

In contrast to conventional magnetic sensors, a production process developed by DESY has the advantage that the desired measuring properties of the sensors can be easily achieved by a defined inclination during the coating process and, for the first time, can be tailored to the measuring tasks. This process eliminates the need for costly modifications to the sensor layer system and the resulting expensive modifications to the production process, which previously would have been necessary. Today DESY holds a patent for the manufacturing process in the specified inclined angle and has applied for additional patents for a production device (a vacuum coating chamber), as well as for further improvements of the sensor properties. DESY is actively marketing this technology.