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Magnetic sensors: World’s first real-time monitoring of cardiac activity using MR sensors

  • TDK has succeeded in the world’s first* real-time measurement of magnetic field distribution of the heart using high-sensitivity magneto resistive (MR) elements.

March 13, 2019

TDK Corporation (President: Shigenao Ishiguro, TSE:6762) and the Joint Research Department of Advanced Medical Technology (Professor Shigenori Kawabata) and Department of Cardiovascular Medicine (Specialty of Cardiac Electrophysiology) (Professor Kenzo Hirao) at the Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences of Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have jointly succeeded in the world’s first real-time measurement of magnetic field distribution of the heart using high-sensitivity MR elements.

As a result of collaborative research, TDK and TMDU succeeded in the world’s first visualization of cardiac magnetic field distribution, an example of the biomagnetic field, using a MR sensor array at room temperature in 2016. TDK and TMDU have been working on the development of more accurate magnetic sensors as well as a measuring device to replace the existing superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) sensors.

Through TDK’s advanced magnetic sensor technology, TDK and TMDU developed magnetic sensors featuring even greater sensitivity, which resulted in the world’s first successful real-time measurement of the cardiac magnetic field distribution, an example of the biomagnetic field, using a MR sensor array at room temperature. Because this technology also facilitates measurement through the parallel connection of multiple room-temperature sensors and allows for higher-density measurement, TDK and TMDU have jointly developed a measuring device that enables measurement on two planes, which is optimal for measuring cardiac activity. TDK and TMDU will conduct verification tests and continue development efforts for practical application of the device. In addition, thanks to the accurate technical support from Kanazawa Institute of Technology, TDK and TMDU were able to achieve it.

Making the most of the opportunity for this successful joint research, TDK and TMDU will continue to accelerate research and development in the magnetic sensor field that will be a central pillar in the future.

  • *As of March 2019, according to TDK data


  • Magnetic field distribution: The spatial distribution of the directionality and strength of a magnetic field. Here, it refers to the two-dimensional distribution within the plane of a sensor array.
  • Biomagnetism: Magnetic fields generated by the electrical activity of living organisms. It is observed in organs such as the heart, brain, nerves and muscles.
  • Cardiac activity : Activity of the muscles that makeup the heart (cardiac) organ.

About Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) is the only comprehensive medical university in Japan that has both undergraduate and graduate programs in medicine and dentistry. The undergraduate programs are offered through the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry, and prepare students to be medical or dental professionals. Our graduate programs in Medical and Dental Sciences and Health Sciences produce leaders who go into research (basic research and clinical-based research), education or a combination of such work. Many professors teach and conduct cutting edge research in their respective Faculty or at one of our specialized research institutes, such as the Medical Research Institute or the Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering.

About TDK Corporation

TDK Corporation is a leading electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK's comprehensive portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2018, TDK posted total sales of USD 12 billion and employed about 103,000 people worldwide.

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