Highly sensitive sensors to measure the heart and brain activity

Kiel research team develops energy-efficient sensors for extremely low frequencies.

Electrical signals measurements such as the ECG (electrocardiogram) can show how the human brain or heart works. Next to electrical signals magnetic signals also reveal something about the activity of these organs. They could be measured with little effort and without skin contact. But the especially weak signals require highly sensitive sensors. Scientists from the Collaboraive research Center 1261 "Magnetoelectric Sensors" at Kiel University have now developed a new concept for cantilever sensors, with the future aim of measuring these low frequencies of heart and brain activity. The extremely small, energy-efficient sensors are particularly well-suited for medical applications or mobile microelectronics. This is made possible by the use of electrets. Such material is permanently electrically charged, and is also used in microphones for hearing aids or mobile phones. The research team presented its sensor concept in a special edition of the renowned journal Nano Energy.

Full CAU press release: https://www.uni-kiel.de/en/university/details/news/280-sensoren/ 


Workshop on Biosignals

On Wednesday the 11.03.2020 the three-day workshop “Innovative Processing of Bioelectrical and Biomagnetical Signals” started at Kiel University. This workshop is a collaboration of the two expert committees “Biosignals” and “Magnetic Methods in Medicine” of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering in the VDE. Researchers working at the interface between medicine and technology were able to present their research during poster sessions and short scientific talks. The subjects included cardiological examinations, possible applications for biomagnetism, methods to analyse movement as well as neurological biosignals. Despite the broad field of discussions, a lively scientific exchange was achieved.

The dean of Kiel University’s Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Stephani, praised the work of the researchers, stating that no progress of medical diagnosis would be possible without technological research. This was also underlined by four keynotes given by Prof. Dr. Eckhard Quandt (Kiel Univer-sity), PD Dr. Helmut Laufs (University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein), Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Schulte-Mattler (University Medical Center Regensburg) und PD Dr. Philipp Hüllemann (University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, MediClin Klinikum Soltau). They provided insight in sensor systems, signal processing and diagnostic procedures within different medical contexts.

In the course of the workshop six junior scientists were honoured by the Young Investigator Award for excellent talks or posters. The best talk was given by Michael Kircher (KIT) about “Nonlinear and Piecewise Fitting of Indicator-Enhanced EIT-Signals: Comparison of Methods“. The talk about “Colour Spaces and Facial Regions for a Camera-Based Heart Rate Estimation” by Hannes Ernst (TU Dresden) was voted second best. Patricia Piepjohn (Kiel University) was awarded the third place for her talk concerning “Real-Time Classification of Tremor Patients’ Movement Patterns”. The price for the best poster was awarded to Nicolas Pilia (KIT) for his contribution about “Reconstruction of Potassium Concentrations with the ECG on Imbalanced Datasets“. The poster on the subject of “Active Shielding of Optically Pumped Magnetometer by Means of Helmholtz Coils” by Christin Bald (Kiel University) was honoured with the second place. Richard Hohmuth’ poster (TU Dresden) concerning “Applicability of Spectroscopy in Multispectral Photoplethysmography” was voted third best. The award winners will be supported in publishing their contributions to the workshop in the journal “Biomedical Engineering/ Biomedizinische Technik”.

Owing to the precautionary measures which were taken due to the corona virus, several participants could not be part of the workshop. The organisers of the event, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmidt (Kiel University), Prof. Dr. Andreas Bahr (Kiel University) and Eric Elzenheimer (Kiel University) concluded that they are glad to have held the workshop in spite of the corona virus and they hope that the participants could draw on the exchange with colleagues they have had during those three days for a while.

Cara Broß, IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Kiel, Germany

First summer school on sensor magnetic sensing in Kiel

From 19-21 August 2019, the first summer school of the CRC took place at the Wissenschaftszentrum Kiel und the Faculty of Engineering. About 30 doctoral candidates and external speakers from Kiel, Germany as far as Moscow attended the interdisciplinary event with the title “Magnetic sensing and applications in medicine and industry – state of the art and new prospects”. It contributed to establish new contacts as well as enhance existing collaborations that, for example, started at some of the research stays of many CRC-members. 

Invited speakers from science and industry presented their work on the development and the application of sensors. The discussed topics included sensor concepts, fabrication, characterization, modeling, benchmarking, Sensor array building and design, measurement electronics, signal processing, Forward/inverse problems and sensor fusion and medical diagnostics. The participants presented their work as a poster or in a short talk. At the second day, the participants could attend one of three soft skills courses on time management, intercultural competence or presentation techniques. An interactive talk on Public Outreach enabled them to present their own research project in a comprehensible way for non-scientists.

On the third day, the participants could visit several laboratories like Kiel Nanolab or the magnetically shielded room as facilities of the Departments of Materials Science and Electrical Engineering. The Lab Visits at the Faculty of Engineering should provide practical insights into methods and instruments used in Kiel. At the end of the conference Professor Eckhard Quandt, spokesperson of the CRC, awarded a prize for the best poster to Renato Huber from the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden.  

Four doctoral researcher positions and one coordination position within CRC 1261 “Magnetoelectric Sensors”

Four doctoral researcher positions and one coordination position within CRC 1261 “Magnetoelectric Sensors”

The Collaborative Research Center 1261 (CRC 1261) “Magnetoelectric Sensors: From Composite Materials to Biomagnetic Diagnostics” at Kiel University, Germany (https://www.uni-kiel.de/en/), offers four doctoral researcher positions and one scientific coordination position.

Within the CRC 1261 highly sensitive magnetoelectric sensors for biomedical applications are developed in a cross-disciplinary team of scientists from materials science, electrical engineering, physics and medicine. In 15 research projects topics concerning magnetoelectric sensor development and fabrication (mainly materials science), sensor characterization and signal processing (mainly electrical engineering), sensor modeling and sensor analysis as well as (medical) applications are covered.

You can find more detailed information about our research on our website:


Within the scope of the CRC 1261 four doctoral researcher positions and one scientific coordination position are offered. Please follow the links to find further information in the respective job advertisement:

• Project A4, full-time doctoral researcher position: "Development of fully integrated ΔE-effect sensors and sensor arrays" Prof. Dr. Franz Faupel, Institute for Materials Science,

• Project A8, full-time doctoral researcher position: “Modeling and simulation of magnetoelectric sensors” Prof. Dr. Martina Gerken, Institute for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology,

• Project B1, full-time doctoral researcher position: “Sensor electronics / integrated circuit design”, Prof. Dr. Andreas Bahr, Institute for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology,

• Project B7, full-time doctoral researcher position: "Development of a magnetic particle mapping (MPM) system based on ME sensors", Prof. Dr. Franz Faupel, Institute for Materials Science,

• Integrated Research Training Group, part time (19,35 h) scientific coordinator position, https://www.uni-kiel.de/personal/de/stellen/extern/tech-adm/dateien-extern-nicht-wiss/sfb1261-irtg.pdf

Applications are possible until 15th of January 2021.

German-American exchange for young researchers

With a joint fellowship programme the American Ceramic Society, the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and the Kiel University (CAU) want to support the international exchange of doctoral researchers. The programme „International Research Experience for Students“ is funded by the American National Science Foundation (NSF) with 500,000 dollars. It enables young scientists from the USA to complete a six-month research stay in Kiel. From the winter semester 2019/20 onwards, they will be able to attend lectures at the Faculty of Engineering and get actively involved in its research work. The subject of the three-year programme is based around three of Kiel University's major research networks, which are working at the interface between engineering and medicine on sensors for biomagnetic fields (Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1261 "Magnetoelectric Sensors: From Composite Materials to Biomagnetic Diganostics"), on new materials to treat brain disorders (Research Training Group 2154 "Materials for Brain") and on the implementation of the information processing in nervous systems into hardware electronics.(Research Group 2093 "Memristive devices for neuronal systems").

The aim of the programme IRES is to support first-rate young researchers at the CAU and American universities in their career development: Programme participants, known as PACK fellows (Penn State – American Ceramic Society – University of Kiel), will have the opportunity of a training in an international setting and building long-term networks. The programme focuses on their exchange with scientist of the CAU and Penn State in the fields of magnetoelectric composite materials, biomagnetic sensors, imaging procedures to display brain activities, biomaterials, medical signal processing and neuromorphic components. The American Ceramic Society is administering the programme.

"Bringing young committed researchers together at international level and establishing networks for them is an important component of our support for young researchers," stressed CRC spokesperson Professor Eckhard Quandt. "This cooperation also demonstrates Kiel University's research strength and international visibility in the emerging field of biomagnetic field sensing. Through this project, we hope to establish the foundations for further German-American research partnerships."

Full CAU press release: https://www.uni-kiel.de/en/details/news/pack0/


SFB1261 Microsite

Click here to visit our Microsite with information for students, teachers and the public (German and English version available).




Prof. Dr. Eckhard Quandt

Kiel University
Institute for Materials Science


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