Simulation of Magnetic Sensor Systems

Master Thesis

In the network of science and industry, Silicon Austria Labs (SAL) offers re­search in four pionee­ring divi­sions: Sensor Systems, RF Systems, Power Elec­tro­nics and System Inte­gra­tion. SAL – a great place to re­search. 

Background – Designing magnetic sensor systems

Magnetic sensor systems are used to measure observables of interest through the magnetic field. Such systems include a coil or a permanent magnet to create a magnetic field, that is then modulated by the environment. The system is completed by a sensor or sensing principle to detect this modulation.

There are many applications for magnetic sensors and sensor systems. Examples are position and orientation detection used in automotive gas pedals or gear shifts, current sensing on traces, cables and in busbars, eddy current sensing for material characterization and crack detection or earth magnetic field detection for magnetic surveys, orientation and compass applications.

To design magnetic sensor systems one typically has to solve Maxwell’s equations in the magnetoquasistatic regime on a magnetically active (magnetization and eddy current effects) geometry. For this purpose, finite element (FE) simulation provides a powerful way to perform computer experiments which can then be compared to analytical calculations and experiments.


Within the course of this thesis we want to design a novel magnetic sensor system. The student should take over the task of the FE simulation for which we will use an ANSYS simulation environment. A deep knowledge of numerical methods is not required, we will give an introduction how to work with the environment. The plan is to compare the FE simulations with our analytical calculations and experimental results and to figure out how design the sensor system in an optimal way. The specific system that shall be designed is based on novel ideas for through wall – wall thickness sensors by eddy current feedback or on improving planar fluxgate type sensor technology. Details can be discussed upon request. Finally, we want to publish the results together in a scientific journal.

To achieve all this, a background in electromagnetics is required (ideally physics, electrical engineering or a related field of study) as well as basic data analysis and visualization abilities, for which Python (numpy, scipy, matplotlib/plotly) will be used. It is expected, that the student can work independently, has elementary programing skills and can contribute in discussion to the mutual development of the project. A high level of English in spoken and written form is mandatory.

In summary, we offer to teach about electromagnetics, magnetic sensors, sensor systems and applications, FE simulation, scientific Python and scientific publication and expect willingness to learn and apply this knowledge.

About us

Silicon Austria Labs (SAL) is on the way to become a top European research center for electronic based systems. In the network of science and industry, we carry out research at the highest global research level and thus create the basis for new types of products and processes. SAL is divided into four divisions: Sensor Systems, RF Systems, Power Electronics and System Inte-gration, and is equipped by state-of the art equipment, consisting of comprehensive optical labs, C5/C8 cleanroom facilities, backend processes for micro-packaging, as well as custom prototyping facilities (custom electronic development, 3d printers, CNC-machinery, Inkjet printer).

Start Date / Duration / Contract

Start date (planned): January 2019;
Duration (planned): 6 Months
Payment: 1385€ gross (38.5 Hours/Week)
Place: Villach, Austria.

Profile / requirements

  • Background in electromagnetics
  • Elementary programming skills, ideally experience with scientific Python
  • Interest to learn about simulation and computer experiments
  • Ability to work independently AND in a team
  • High level of English