We study an electronic gradiometer system for magnetocardiography (MCG) in unshielded environments. The electronically balanced gradiometer consists of three high temperature radio-frequency (rf) superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometers, arranged in off-axis arrangement with the baseline of 6 cm to form the second order (2nd-order) gradiometer system. A set of coefficients were found to optimize the noise spectrum of the 2nd-order gradiometer via the fast Fourier transform technique by considering both the phase and the amplitude in the subtraction circuit. Besides, the signal of the 2nd-order gradiometer was filtered by notch and low frequency band pass filters. Hence, the field noise spectrum of the 2nd-order gradiometer was reduced to 1.5 pT/Hz1/2 at 60 Hz, to 1 pT/Hz1/2 at 10 Hz, and to 1.5 pT/Hz1/2 at 1 Hz. We perform MCG measurements in unshielded environments. To enhance the signal to noise ratio, the measured MCG signals were averaged according to the simultaneously recorded electrocardiogram signals recorded simultaneously. The MCG measurement was performed over several locations above the thorax of a human being. Our results demonstrate that the off-axis arrangement can offer the flexibility in the design of the SQUID-based multichannel magnetocardiogram.
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