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Ferrolens or Ferrocell is a type of superparamagnetic optical device which can display magnetostatic or dynamic magnetic fields in real time and in color. In other words, it is a quantum optical magnetic flux viewer. [1][2][3][4][5]

Quantum field view (Video) of dipole magnets as shown with the ferrolens.[1][2][3] (a) Pole wire-frame field view of a ring magnet. A LED strip lighting is used. (b) Outline side field view of a cylindrical magnet. A single small incandescent lamp is placed under the ferrolens.

For its operation it is using a thin film of diluted ferrofluid encapsulated inside a flat lens loosely similar to a Hele-Shaw cell filled with ferrofluid[2][6] however, there are some significant differences due the quantum magnetic optic properties of its thin film and lens structure.[7] Usually the ferrolens is fitted with a LED strip light programmable source on its periphery emulating different lighting conditions. The superparamagnetic nanoparticles inside the ferrofluid are following the magnetic flux of an external field induced into the ferrolens (i.e. a permanent magnet placed on top or under the ferrolens). At the same time, the oriented and aligned with the magnetic field lines nanoparticles, are emitting back part of their incident light (Video) thus essentially allowing them to "paint" the magnetic field lines and therefore making them visible.[1][3][4][8] Light intensity and color texture of the field lines shown can vary slightly accordingly to magnetic field strength and direction.

Side field view of magnet. Black circles are the poles of magnet. LED light strip is used at the periphery. Magnet is placed under the ferrolens.

A ferrolens has advanced visualization capabilities in detail, spatial resolution, sensitivity, color information and can depict also depth of field information on an observed magnetic field essentially making it a 3D holographic nanomagnetic direct observation passive device for magnetic fields and related quantum effects[1][4]. Also when the ferrolens is used with a LED light strip, it shows the wire-frame model of the individual magnetic flux lines of a static magnetic field.[1][2][3]

Currently, it is the only device, reported by academia of this type which can efficiently visualize fast changing (i.e. dynamic) magnetic fields[4] and its superparamagnetic properties is allowing it to display the Quantum Field of Magnets (QFM)[1][2][3] or else called Quantum Magnet[9].

Magnetic field of transmitting radio antenna rod as viewed by the ferrolens.[4] Metal frame of rod becomes transparent under magnetic viewing (i.e. invisibility cloak). Video

Further academic research is also carried out with the ferrolens for the polarization of light using magnetic fields.[3] and study of dynamical systems by magneto-controlled diffraction of light and lasers[10][11].

Additionally, a ferrolens can be used effectively as a magnetically controlled Minkowski space–time emulator device for research on topological defects based on disordered ferrofluid such as magnetic monopoles [12], cosmic strings and the space–time cloak.[13] It is imperative to notice here, that the device although controlled by magnetism is not magnetohydrodynamic since it is not electrically conductive but an insulator.

A ferrolens is not to be confused with a FLCD display device or magnetic viewing film, since their technology, operation and applications are different.

Ferrolenses are available today mainly for research applications and education in general, under the registered trademark Ferrocell[5][14][15] as a patented product. Many Youtube videos are available with “do-it-yourself” instructions for making ferrolenses for personal use. Video


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Markoulakis, Emmanouil; Konstantaras, Antonios; Antonidakis, Emmanuel (2018). "The quantum field of a magnet shown by a nanomagnetic ferrolens". Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. 466: 252–259. arXiv:1807.08751. doi:10.1016/j.jmmm.2018.07.012. ISSN 0304-8853.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Michael Snyder and Johnathan Frederick (June 18, 2008). "Photonic Dipole Contours of a Ferrofluid Hele-Shaw Cell". Chrysalis: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Tufaile, Alberto; Vanderelli, Timm A.; Tufaile, Adriana Pedrosa Biscaia (2017). "Light Polarization Using Ferrofluids and Magnetic Fields". Advances in Condensed Matter Physics. 2017: 1–7. doi:10.1155/2017/2583717. ISSN 1687-8108.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Markoulakis, Emmanouil; Rigakis, Iraklis; Chatzakis, John; Konstantaras, Antonios; Antonidakis, Emmanuel (2018). "Real time visualization of dynamic magnetic fields with a nanomagnetic ferrolens". Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. 451: 741–748. arXiv:1712.05436. Bibcode:2018JMMM..451..741M. doi:10.1016/j.jmmm.2017.12.023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Magnetic flux viewer, 2007-04-12, retrieved 2018-04-29
  6. Wen, C.-Y.; Su, W.-P. (March 2005). "Natural convection of magnetic fluid in a rectangular Hele-Shaw cell". Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. 289: 299–302. doi:10.1016/j.jmmm.2004.11.085. ISSN 0304-8853.
  7. Dave, Vishakha, R. V. Mehta, and S. P. Bhatnagar. "Extinction of light by a Ferrocell and ferrofluid layers: A comparison." Optik (2020): 164861, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijleo.2020.164861
  8. Rablau, Corneliu; Vaishnava, Prem; Sudakar, Chandran; Tackett, Ronald; Lawes, Gavin; Naik, Ratna (2008-11-06). "Magnetic-field-induced optical anisotropy in ferrofluids: A time-dependent light-scattering investigation". Physical Review E. 78 (5): 051502. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.78.051502.
  9. E. Markoulakis, A. Konstantaras, J. Chatzakis, R. Iyer, E. Antonidakis, Real time observation of a stationary magneton, Results in Physics, 15(C), 2019, 102793, arxiv:1911.05735, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rinp.2019.102793.
  10. Tufaile, Alberto, Timm A. Vanderelli, Michael Snyder, and Adriana Pedrosa Biscaia Tufaile. "Observing Dynamical Systems Using Magneto-Controlled Diffraction." Condensed Matter 4, no. 2 (2019): 35. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/condmat4020035
  11. Controlling light diffraction with nanostructures Snyder M., Tufaile A., Tufaile A.P.B., Vanderelli T.A., University of Sao Paulo, BR, TechConnect Briefs 2019, ISBN: 978-0-9988782-8-7.
  12. Markoulakis E, Chatzakis J, Konstantaras A and Antonidakis E, A synthetic macroscopic magnetic unipole,  Phys. Scr., 2020, 95, 095811  doi: https://doi.org/10.1088/1402-4896/abaf8f
  13. Smolyaninov, Igor I., Vera N. Smolyaninova, and Alexei I. Smolyaninov. "Experimental model of topological defects in Minkowski space–time based on disordered ferrofluid: magnetic monopoles, cosmic strings and the space–time cloak." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 373, no. 2049 (2015): 20140360. doi: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2014.0360
  14. "FERROCELL Trademark of Timm A. Vanderelli - Registration Number 4813718 - Serial Number 86185455 :: Justia Trademarks". trademarks.justia.com. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  15. "FERROCELL.US". ferrocell.us. Retrieved 2018-04-29.

External links[edit]

Ferrolens at ScienceWISE

DIY instructions

DIY Demo

How to make a ferrocell for personal use

Quantum Field view of pole of magnet

Nanoparticle needles formed polarizing light

EM radio wave on transmitting antenna

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