Date: 21 Feb 2006

A high-sensitivity laser-pumped Mx magnetometer

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We discuss the design and performance of a laser-pumped cesium vapor magnetometer in the Mx configuration. The device will be employed in the control and stabilization of fluctuating magnetic fields and gradients in a new experiment searching for a permanent electric dipole moment of the neutron. We have determined the intrinsic sensitivity of the device to be 15 fT in a 1 Hz bandwidth, limited by technical laser noise. In the shot noise limit the magnetometer can reach a sensitivity of 10 fT in a 1 Hz bandwidth. We have used the device to study the fluctuations of a stable magnetic field in a multi-layer magnetic shield for integration times in the range of 2–100 seconds. The residual fluctuations for times up to a few minutes are traced back to the instability of the power supply used to generate the field.