Streets of London
Quantum technology is an amazing thing, for it can be used for many applications, improving our lot beyond the current scope. And though the technology is still at a very early stage, there is little doubt things are moving ahead fast.
One use case of this is quantum sensing. By applying photonic systems or solid-state systems, quantum sensors can have far-reaching effects in microscopy, positioning systems, communication technology, electric, and magnetic field sensors.
According to Kai Bongs, a professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy, the University of Birmingham and principle investigator of the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing: “Some have said that what lies below one metre under the streets of London is less well-known than Antarctica.”
This is an interesting fact, and one the wizardry of quantum sensors may soon be addressing.
“There are thousands of mine shafts in the UK, often two metres or less across, and if the top of the shaft is five metres or more below ground then they can’t currently be detected,” said George Tuckwell of geoscience, engineering and environmental consultancy firm RSK, a company leading the Gravity Pioneer project that is funded by Innovate UK, which brings together industry and academic experts aiming to develop the first commercial quantum technology Gravity program. “But the new sensor will be able to see most of them.”
This is great news for the sector because after the cause comes the effect. But what is this effect?
Startups, that’s what, springing up with their own unique ideas on how to solve some of the most pressing concerns in the space. Yet not only them. Older sensor companies too, have been around for a long time and are jumping at the opportunity to design and manufacture quantum sensors with little or no problem in adapting their technology to the changing tide.
Like always, TQD will now list a dozen or so companies and startups with their fingers in the quantum sensor pie.
Co-founded by Bill Biggs as Lambda Instruments Corporation back in 1971 to design and build sensors along with other products, it changed its name to LI-COR, Inc. in 1978.
LI-COR is a global leader in developing innovative, high-quality instrumentation for biotechnology and environmental technology. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, the company is now fifty-years-old and still going strong.
Impacting Lives through Science
The company’s quantum sensor product line includes the LI-COR LI-190R Quantum Sensor, which measures photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), the LI-COR LI-191R Line Quantum Sensor, able to measure photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) integrated over one-metre length and a number of underwater quantum sensors.
One good thing to know is LI-COR’s scientists and engineers work closely with the industry and the scientific community via their own R&D channels, worldwide collaborations with expert scientists in their fields, as well as being active at scientific conferences, workshops, seminars, and by publishing in leading scientific journals.
Highlighted in a post by TQD some time ago, Apogee Instruments was founded by Bruce Bugbee in 1996. With headquarters in Logan, Utah, Apogee Instruments manufactures “research-grade sensors” and has become a respected leader in environmental instruments since its inception.
Built by scientists, for scientists
— Apogee Instruments
The company offers four types of quantum sensors designed and manufactured for agricultural professionals: the Full Spectrum (blue head), the Original (black head), the Extended Range PFD (silver head), and a Quantum Light Pollution Sensor.
Like Apogee Instruments, Campbell Scientific is located in Logan, Utah. Founded in 1974 by brothers Evan and Eric Campbell, it “designs, manufactures and sells rugged dataloggers, data-acquisition systems, and measurement and control products used worldwide in environmental, research, and industrial markets” and has come a long way since starting with a single anemometer.
We at Campbell Scientific, Inc., are committed to satisfying the measurement instrumentation needs of our customers, especially those who are working to advance science and technology for the benefit of humankind
— Campbell Scientific
Manufacturing several different quantum (PAR) sensors, Campbell Scientific has a solution whether it is for measuring and monitoring water quality, meteorology, greenhouse gas fluxes, solar energy, bridge structure, soil moisture, or other related fields. With offices in twelve countries, it has global reach, too.
NuCrypt was founded in 2003 by Prem Kumar and designs and manufactures products “at the interface of photonic, electronic, and quantum technologies”. With headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, NuCrypt’s experience in academia and industry gives it a competitive advantage in building novel optical systems with the goal of commercializing them.
AT THE INTERFACE OF PHOTONIC, ELECTRONIC, AND QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES
With a suite of products that generate, manipulate, and detect photons which include the EPS-1000 Entangled Photon Source (EPS), the CPDS-1000 (50 MHz) Correlated Photon Detection System, the PA-1000 Polarization Analyzer, and the Quantum System Control Software, this surely makes NuCrypt a leading quantum optical instrumentation company globally.
Founded as Geophysical Electromagnetic Systems in 1980 by Ivan and Jasna Hrvoic, GEM Systems is based in Markham, Ontario and is a manufacturer of magnetometers, gradiometers and magnetic sensors for earth science, geophysics and other applications.
OUR WORLD IS MAGNETICS
— GEM Systems
In regard to its quantum technology, GEM is developing advanced quantum magnetometers that include the Overhauser and Proton Precession models.
Highlighted in a TQD story late last year, Muquans was established in Bordeaux, France, in 2011 by its three co-founders Bruno Desruelle, Philippe Bouyer and Arnaud Landragin as a a spinoff from Observatoire de Paris (LNE-SYRTE) and Institut d’Optique (LP2N).
TURN QUANTUM SOLUTIONS
The world’s only company manufacturing and commercializing quantum sensors based on laser-cooled atoms, the team’s goal is to use its unique product in applications in geophysics, metrology and other fields.
With its headquarters in Richmond, North Yorkshire, UK, Peratech was founded in 1996 and is a global leader in 3D force-sensing technologies. The company’s proprietary QTC® (Quantum Tunnelling Composites) materials provide state-of-the-art touch/force-sensing solutions.
THE NEXT GENERATION IN 3D FORCE-SENSING SOLUTIONS
Peratech’s QTC Single-Point Sensors, QTC Multi-touch Sensors and Touch Development Kit utilize the QTC force-sensing technology.
Jon Stark is the current CEO and director of the company.
NEXT GENERATION ATOMIC SENSING FOR NAVIGATION AND RESOURCE EXPLORATION
The startup’s proprietary new gravimeter called Gravio™ “can provide a cost-effective way to give the best possible data in the shortest amount of time using quantum sensing”. It does this by pinpointing underground structures and then utilizing its high imaging resolution, high precision and sensitivity and data rate. This can drastically reduce the cost of surveys, improve the safety of underground infrastructure, save time whilst ensuring optimal planning.
Founded in 2017 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, SBQuantum (Shine Bright) is developing diamond-based quantum sensors with vectorial capabilities for space, defence and infrastructure inspection.
REVEAL THE INVISIBLE
— SB Quantum
A spinoff from the Université de Sherbrooke’s Institut Quantique, the startup is at the forefront of high-precision magnetometers.
Founded in 2020 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts — the home of both Harvard University and MIT Cambridge — Mulberry Sensors is a molecular sensing startup working to “transform the human safety, health and machine condition monitoring using chip-scale, gas-in/digital-out, mid-infrared molecular sensing platform based on our proprietary pulsed, DFB quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology and our gas sensing know-how.”
TRANSFORMING CHIP SCALE MOLECULAR SENSING
— Mulberry Sensors
Teoman Ustun, Daryoosh Vakhshoori and Laurent Diehl are the founding team behind the semiconductor-based QCL, and hope to change outcomes with their proprietary technology in health, food safety, battery outgassing, and other areas where humanity has yet to find a viable solution.
Another startup that has been featured by TQD before, Miraex’s headquarters is located in Vaud, Switzerland. Founded in 2019 as a spinoff from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) by Nicolas Abelé, Karel Dumon and Clément Javerzac-Galy, Miraex manufactures and offers photonic and quantum solutions for next-generation sensing, as well as for networking and computing.
Proprietary full-stack platform for sensing and quantum applications. Using photons instead of electrons
The startup’s photonic sensors “only use photons to measure vibrations, accelerations, pressures, electric fields, microwave fields and temperature”.
An Australian startup based out of the nation’s capital, Canberra, Nomad Atomics — seeing the limitations of current commercially available quantum sensors — is developing its own “compact, low cost” cold-atom gravimeters to combat the problem.
By exploiting the natural properties of atoms and their interaction with light we produce state-of-the-art sensors for the measurement of gravity, accelerations, magnetics, and time
— Nomad Atomics
Make sense of the very small
The startup’s products include the Qnami ProteusQ™, a “complete quantum microscope system that provides high precision images to see directly the most subtle properties of samples and the effect of microscopic changes in the design or fabrication process”, the Quantilevers series, “diamond probes made with NV centers for scanning NV microscopy applications”, and the Quantum Foundry which “engineers synthetic diamonds to fabricate quantum sensors for applications where sensitivity is key”.
With its headquarters in Delft, Netherlands — already a hotbed of quantum innovation in Europe — Single Quantum’s aim is to deliver the best results in photon detection through its superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD) proprietary technology.
High efficiency. Unrivalled time resolution.
— Single Quantum
Founded in 2012, founders Sander Dorenbos and Val Zwiller — together with their expert team and the support of more than 100 academic and industrial labs spread over the globe — want to build the world’s fastest and most sensitive light sensors that can be employed to good effect in fields such as quantum communication, cryptography, infrared fluorescence spectroscopy, and laser ranging.
Have we missed any out or got something wrong? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Quantum Insider (TQI)
Just in case this list hasn’t satisfied your cravings for knowledge in the quantum sensor industry, you can check out The Quantum Insider (TQI), TQD’s very own data platform, where you can find deep and insightful information on all aspects of quantum technologies.
TQI is an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, investors, companies, and government agencies looking to extend their knowledge of the growing quantum tech ecosystem!