We report on an instrument for applying ac and dc magnetic fields by capturing the flux from a rotating permanent magnet and projecting it between two adjustable pole pieces. This can be an alternative to standard electromagnets for experiments with small samples or in probe stations in which an applied magnetic field is needed locally, with advantages that include a compact form-factor, very low power requirements and dissipation as well as fast field sweep rates. This flux capture instrument (FLUXCAP) can produce fields from -400 to +400 mT, with field resolution less than 1 mT. It generates static magnetic fields as well as ramped fields, with ramping rates as high as 10 T/s. We demonstrate the use of this apparatus for studying the magnetotransport properties of spin-valve nanopillars, a nanoscale device that exhibits giant magnetoresistance.
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