What is gaussmeter?

Gaussmeter, also known as a magnetometer, is a device used to measure the strength and direction of a magnetic field. Small, hand-held versions are available and the user can carry it with him to monitor magnetic fields as he walks.



If the person holding it walks closer to the magnetic source the reading will rise; it will lower if the person walks away from the source. Multiple sources can create conflicting readings, however, and may require more advanced technology to determine where the sources are coming from.

Today, gaussmeters serve a number of uses. They are a valuable tool in space exploration for learning more about the magnetism of foreign planets and other bodies in space. Here on Earth, they can detect certain landscape formations and for this reason are used in geophysics to get an idea of how the land is laid out. Certain magnetometers can also detect hidden items such as shipwrecks and are at work in metal detectors used both by beachcombers hunting for lost items in the sand and by security teams to detect guns or other weapons.

The magnetometers are gaining popularity in cell phones as well. A phone utilizing this technology can point out directions to the user much like a compass does. It also may be used to let the user interact with the phone without actually touching it. Though still in the beginning stages of development, a magnet can be used to interact with the magnetometer in the phone. The magnetometer can pick up information about how the user is turning or moving her hand and then the phone responds to these movements.

The magnetic field can be uniform and inhomogeneous. In a uniform field magnetic induction vectors B at any point of the field are the same and directed to one side. Otherwise, the field is considered inhomogeneous. Magnetometers according to the detected value can be divided into devices for measuring particular parameters, such as:

1) inclinometers and declinator – direction of the field;

2) gradiometers – field gradient;

3) gaussmeter – magnetic induction;

3) webermeters or fluxmeters – the magnetic flux;

4) coercimeters – coercive force; etc.