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Optically Pumped Magnetometers

the future sensors of MEG

In collaboration with colleagues at the School of Physics and Astronomy, we are working on an MEG system that uses Optically Pumped Magnetometers (OPMs). It is a new technique that makes use of advancements in quantum technology to measure the neuronal activity in the human brain with high precision in both space and time. OPM-based MEG is an improvement over traditional MEG because the sensors can be placed closer to the scalp, which increases the signal strength by about five times and makes the system more flexible. Currently, we have a 70-sensor system from FieldLine that is operational in a shielded room. Our goal is to develop a pediatric OPM system that can be used in our research on natural reading in children, and we also hope to develop a system for infant recordings.

This research line is funded by a Wellcome Discovery Award, the Leverhulme Trust and the BBSRC.


Cook, H., Bezsudnova, Y., Koponen, L.M., Jensen, O., Barontini, G., and Kowalczyk, A.U. (submitted) An optically pumped magnetic gradiometer for the detection of human biomagnetism.

Bezsudnova, Y., Koponen, L.M., Barontini, G., Jensen, O. and Kowalczyk, A. (2022) Optimizing the OPM sensing volume for MEG source reconstruction. Neuroimage 264:119747

Kowalczyk, A.U, Bezsudnova, Y., Jensen, O., Barontini, G. (2021) Detection of human auditory evoked brain signals with a resilient nonlinear optically pumped magnetometer. Neuroimage 226, 117497

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