A Rogowski coil, named after Walter Rogowski, is an electrical device for measuring alternating current (AC) or high speed current pulses. It consists of a helical coil of wire with the lead from one end returning through the centre of the coil to the other end, so that both terminals are at the same end of the coil. The whole assembly is then wrapped around the straight conductor whose current is to be measured. There is no metal (iron) core. The winding density, the diameter of the coil and the rigidity of the winding are critical for preserving immunity to external fields and low sensitivity to the positioning of the measured conductor.
Since the voltage that is induced in the coil is proportional to the rate of change (derivative) of current in the straight conductor, the output of the Rogowski coil is usually connected to an electrical (or electronic) integrator circuit to provide an output signal that is proportional to the current. Single-chip signal processors with built-in analog to digital converters (like Analog Devices AD7763) are usually used for this purpose.
This type of coil has advantages over other types of current transformers.
- It is not a closed loop, because the second terminal is passed back through the center of the toroid core (commonly a plastic or rubber tube) and connected along the first terminal. This allows the coil to be open-ended and flexible, allowing it to be wrapped around a live conductor without disturbing it. However, positioning of the measured conductor is important in that case: It has been shown that, with flexible sensors, the effect of the position on the accuracy ranges from 1 to 3%. Another technique uses two rigid winding halves with a precise locking mechanism.
- Due to its low inductance, it can respond to fast-changing currents, down to several nanoseconds.
- Because it has no iron core to saturate, it is highly linear even when subjected to large currents, such as those used in electric power transmission, welding, or pulsed power applications. This linearity also enables a high-current Rogowski coil to be calibrated using much smaller reference currents.
- No danger of opening the secondary winding.
- Lower construction costs.
- Temperature compensation is simple.
- Conventional current transformers require an increase of the number of secondary turns, in order to keep the output current constant. Therefore, a Rogowski coil for large current is smaller than an equivalent rating current transformer.
This type of coil also has some disadvantages over other types of current transformers.
- The output of the coil must be passed through an integrator circuit to obtain the current waveform. The integrator circuit requires power, typically 3 to 24Vdc, while many commercial sensors use batteries to power their electronic parts.
- Traditional split-core current transformers do not require integrator circuits. The integrator is lossy, so the Rogowski coil does not have a response down to DC; neither does a conventional current transformer (see Néel effect coils for DC). However, they can measure very slow changing currents with frequency components down to 1Hz and less.
Rogowski coils are used for current monitoring in precision welding systems, arc melting furnaces, or electromagnetic launchers. They are also used in short-circuit testing of electric generators and as sensors in protection systems of electrical plants. Another field of usage is the measurement of harmonic current content, due to their high linearity.
The voltage produced by a Rogowski coil is
where is the area of one of the small loops, is the number of turns, and is the length of the winding (the circumference of the ring). is the rate of change of the current threading the loop. This formula assumes the turns are evenly spaced and that these turns are small relative to the radius of the coil itself. At high frequencies, the Rogowski coil's inductance will decrease its output. The inductance of a toroid is
A device similar to the Rogowski coil was described by Arthur Prince Chattock of Bristol University in 1887. Chattock used it to measure magnetic fields rather than currents. The definitive description was given by Walter Rogowski and W. Steinhaus in 1912.
In 1981, a self-biasing Rogowski Coil was developed to measure secondary electronic emission caused by high power ion beams used in Plasma Physics research. This coil was developed as a diagnostic tool in ion beam research at Cornell University. These beams travel charge neutral evading a traditional Rogowski Coil current measurement. However, a direct correlation between secondary electrons caused by beams impacted metal surfaces allowed extrapolation of beam strength. 
More recently, low-cost current sensors based on the principle of a Rogowski coil have been developed. These sensors share the principles of a Rogowski coil, measuring the rate of change of current using a transformer with no magnetic core. The difference from the traditional Rogowski coil is that the sensor can be manufactured using a planar coil rather than a toroidal coil. In order to reject the influence of conductors outside the sensor's measurement region, these planar Rogowski current sensors use a concentric coil geometry instead of a toroidal geometry to limit the response to external fields. The main advantage of the planar Rogowski current sensor is that the coil winding precision that is a requirement for accuracy can be achieved using low-cost printed circuit board manufacturing.
- Current transformer
- List of electronics topics
- Pulsed power
- Toroidal inductors and transformers
- John G. Webster, Halit Eren (ed.), Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook, Second Edition: Electromagnetic, Optical, Radiation, Chemical, and Biomedical Measurement, CRC Press, 2014, ISBN 1-439-84891-2, pp. 16-6 to 16-7.
- Klaus Schon, High Impulse Voltage and Current Measurement Techniques: Fundamentals – Measuring Instruments – Measuring Methods, Springer Science & Business Media, 2013, ISBN 3-319-00378-X, p. 193.
- Slawomir Tumanski, Handbook of Magnetic Measurements, CRC Press, 2011, ISBN 1-439-82952-7, p. 175.
- Stephen A. Dyer, Wiley Survey of Instrumentation and Measurement, John Wiley & Sons, 2004, ISBN 0-471-22165-1, p. 265.
- Krzysztof Iniewski, Smart Sensors for Industrial Applications, CRC Press, 2013, ISBN 1-466-56810-0, p. 346.
- "On a magnetic potentiometer", Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, vol. XXIV, no. 5th Series, pp. 94–96, Jul-Dec 1887
- Walter Rogowski and W. Steinhaus in "Die Messung der magnetischen Spannung", Archiv für Elektrotechnik, 1912, 1, Pt.4, pp. 141–150.
- Michael Gaydar, "The Preliminary Development Of A Self Biasing Rogowski Coil", Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University, 1982
- Patent for a planar Rogowski current sensor U.S. Patent 6,414,475, granted 2 Jul 2002.