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A Precessing Ferromagnetic Needle Magnetometer

Abstract

A ferromagnetic needle is predicted to precess about the magnetic field axis at a Larmor frequency Ω\Omega under conditions where its intrinsic spin dominates over its rotational angular momentum, NIΩN\hbar \gg I\Omega (II is the moment of inertia of the needle about the precession axis and NN is the number of polarized spins in the needle). In this regime the needle behaves as a gyroscope with spin NN\hbar maintained along the easy axis of the needle by the crystalline and shape anisotropy. A precessing ferromagnetic needle is a correlated system of NN spins which can be used to measure magnetic fields for long times. In principle, by taking advantage of rapid averaging of quantum uncertainty, the sensitivity of a precessing needle magnetometer can far surpass that of magnetometers based on spin precession of atoms in the gas phase. Under conditions where noise from coupling to the environment is subdominant, the scaling with measurement time tt of the quantum- and detection-limited magnetometric sensitivity is t3/2t^{-3/2}. The phenomenon of ferromagnetic needle precession may be of particular interest for precision measurements testing fundamental physics.Comment: Main text: 6 pages, 2 figures; Supplementary material: 3 pages, 1 figur

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