We have developed a new eddy current probe composed of a dual half-cylindrical (2HC) coil as an exciting coil and a sensing coil that is placed in the small gap of the 2HC coil. The 2HC coil induces a linear eddy current on the narrow region within the target medium. The magnitude of eddy current has a maximum peak with the narrow width, underneath the center of the exciting 2HC coil. Because of the linear eddy current, the probe can be used to detect not only the existence of a crack but also its direction in conducting materials. Using specimen with a machined crack, and varying the exciting frequency from 0.5 to 100 kHz, we investigated the relationships between the direction of crack and the output voltage of the sensing coil. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0034-6748(00)01402-7].