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UK CSC announces Magneto-imaging consortium


QBARKA project will focus on the development of a new technique to enable ultra-high resolution magneto-imaging of metallic microstructure

The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) has announced the award of the project support from Innovate UK's Quantum Technology programme. Project "˜QBARKA' will focus on the development of a new technique to enable ultra-high resolution magneto-imaging of metallic microstructure by exploiting the Barkhausen effect in ferromagnetic materials.

Magnetic Barkhausen Noise (BHN) measurements are currently used in non-destructive inspection of stress/strain and microstructures in a range of materials. BHN occurs when a magnetic field is applied to a ferromagnetic material, and is generated by the sudden irreversible motion of magnetic domain walls as they are released from microstructural obstacles such as dislocations and grain boundaries. BHN can provide high resolution microstructure related information, but current detection techniques used do not have the resolution (both spatial and magnetic), to extract the wealth of data available.

The project will use core technology based on compound semiconductor Quantum Well Hall Effect (QWHE) magnetic sensing technology developed by Advanced Hall Sensors Ltd in Manchester, UK. Mohamed Missous, inventor of the technology commented: "These sensors have several advantages over incumbent technology: miniaturised size, sensitivities independent of frequency and a very wide dynamic range. The technology offers a novel solution to enable a new paradigm in high resolution microstructural analysis of materials".

Wyn Meredith, director of CSC commented: "Magnetic field sensors are key enabling technologies for a wide range of metrology, imaging, industrial and automotive sensing applications where demand is proliferating rapidly. The consortium (AHS, CSC, Microsemi and TWI) has been constructed to address both the key markets and the development and manufacturing supply chain."

The Compound Semiconductor Centre was founded in 2015 as a Joint Venture between Cardiff University and IQE Plc, with the mission of accelerating commercialisation of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Device Research, and realising a tangible economic return on the UK investment in this key area of enabling technology. Based in Cardiff, the Centre is a vital milestone towards developing a World-class Compound Semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

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