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An unshielded radio-frequency atomic magnetometer with sub-femtoTesla sensitivity
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We demonstrate a radio-frequency potassium-vapor magnetometer operating with sensitivities of 0.3 fT/
at 0.5 MHz and 0.9 fT/
at 1.31 MHz in the absence of radio-frequency and mu-metal or magnetic shielding. The use of spatially separated magnetometers, two voxels within the same cell, permits for the subtraction of common mode noise and the retention of a gradient signal, as from a local source. At 0.5 MHz the common mode noise was white and measured to be 3.4 fT/
; upon subtraction the noise returned to the values observed when the magnetometer was shielded. At 1.31 MHz, the common mode noise was from a nearby radio station and was reduced by a factor of 33 upon subtraction, limited only by the radio signal picked up by receiver electronics. Potential applications include in-the-field low-field magnetic resonance, such as the use of nuclear quadrupole resonance for the detection of explosives.
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