Direction: Akad. Oberrat Dr. rer. nat. Dipl. Phys. Ingo Richter
Since 1966 the Institute operates an own laboratory for magnetic measurements at the site of the Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL). It is located at the geographical coordinates 52.2886° North and 10.4230° East. At this area we were allowed to build up a complex of four measurement huts as guests. The test site was named "Magnetsrode". This name has its origin in the word "Magnet" and the suffix "-rode", which represents a typical name for north german villages. A frequently uses acronym is „MRode“.
In Magnetsrode all those calibrations, experiments, and test registrations are executed which can't be carried out in the institute due to the artifical (technical) magnetical distortions caused by traffic (mainly tram and railway) and industry. Most of the data registered continuously in MRode e.g. the components of the earth magnetic field are transmitted to the institute via telemetry to be saved on the server and to be distributed world wide web via internet. The laboratory, however, does not carry the state of an observatory. International Partners are the Institut für Weltraumforschung der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Graz and the Imperial College London.
In the years 1991 and 2003 Magnetsrode has been completely updated. As before the most important device of the laboratory is the huge Braunbek-coil-system, a system of three Braunbek-coils interlocked in each other. This construction provides - together with the new current sources and the new power amplifiers - the possibility of generation DC-fields and low frequent AC-fields up to 120000 nanotesla [nT]. This is in the order of twice the earth magnetic field. Thus, we are able to simulate the magnetic field for every place on earth and in the surrounding in the interplanetary space. Orbit simulations are possible as well.
This system is used also to compensate the natural environmental earth magnetic field. The input signal is generated by a high precision fluxgate magnetometer located 50 m abeam of the coil-system. This three axes magnetic field measurement system monitors the earth magnetic field and its variations with a resolution better than 0.1 nT (that´s about 1/500000 of the earth field). The quasi zero field region inside the the Braunbek-system (residual field less than 1 nT) is used for calibrations of high sensitive magnetic field measuring devices which operate - for example - on spacecrafts during satellite missions. In the zero field region we can also place a temperature box - completely new developed in 2005 - to provide magnetic field measurements and instrument calibrations in an environment with computer controlled temperature profiles. The usable temperature range covers -196°C up tos +200°C.
The new intrumentation allows also the generation of spinning magnetic field vectors. Thus, the magnetic field of spin stabilized spacecrafts can be simulated. With special wave form generators quasi every kind of fields can be applied. Therefore, even fast changes (shocks) of the interplanetary magnetic field can be imitated to test e. g. shock-detectors.
Meanwhile the faciltiy has been equipped with an overall computer control system. With this outstanding magnetic field calibration system we performed the calibrations for the following Space-Missions
and the German Continental Deep Drilling Program KTB as well.
Our facility is unique in Germany and even world wide.
Components of the Laboratory
Here the heating system for the huts, the telemetry transmitter and a gravimeter, which measures continuously the earth gravity field, are located.
This hut is the control center of the lab. Computers for the facility control and data aquisition are placed here as well as the complete hardware for the field compensation, generation and field measuring.
Programmable AC- and DC- sources including various filters are available.
In the upper part the SOLARTRON multimeter, used to monitor the nominal field, is visible. In the lower part the analog-electronics for the field compensation and the telemetry-unit can be seen.
Here the calibration coil system is located. It is a 3-axes-Braunbek-system with an diameter of about 2.5 m.
In this house we find a small (1.2 m diameter) 2-axes mobile coil system including control hardware. It is used for magnetic cleanliness measurements.
Additionally a huge (4 m diameter) 3-axes coil system, directly installed at the walls of the house, is located here for magnetic cleanliness investigations of larger satellite subsystems.