Magneto-optical imaging is widely used to observe the domain patterns in magnetic materials, visualize defects in ferromagnetic objects, and measure the spatial distribution of stray magnetic fields. Optimized 1D magneto-photonic crystals enable a significant increase in the sensitivity of magneto-optical sensors. The properties of such devices based on the optimized reflection (doubled Faraday rotation) mode and the use of 1D magnetic photonic crystals as sensors are discussed. Experimental results of the fabrication and characterization of ferrite-garnet layers possessing uniaxial magnetic anisotropy are shown, and an optimized film structure suitable for magneto-optical imaging is proposed.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.