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Nondestructive testing techniques are more and more exploited in order to quickly and cheaply recognize flaws into the inspected materials. Within this framework, a concern of eddy current tests is the depth of penetration delta, above all in such applications as the control of steel beams. Thus, an optimal design of exciting coil is strictly required in order to reach as higher delta as possible. The aim of this paper is first to design, by finite-element analysis, and test by in-lab measurements, a suitable exciting coil. Subsequently, the inverse ill-posed problem for defect characterization, starting from experimental measurements, has been studied and regularized, in order to characterize the depth and the extension of defects.