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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Quantum Computers, Quantum Sensors

Sensors gather measurement data, which is crucial to learning hypothesis about complex systems.  Here an introduction to the concept of a quantum sensor.

Quantum sensor technology
“From quantum sensors to quantum computers”
Fraunhofer Research News / June 02, 2020

Prof. Oliver Ambacher, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF in Freiburg, on the potential applications of quantum sensor technology and the role it plays in quantum computing.

Prof. Oliver Ambacher, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics in Freiburg.
Components based on diamond plates don't rely on extensive cooling: they will enable future quantum computers to be used at room temperature.

Mr. Ambacher, your institute is conducting extensive research in the field of quantum sensor technology. What’s so special about this technology?

Ambacher: Quantum sensors are very small and sensitive, so they can measure the tiniest of signals with extreme spatial resolution. This is important, for example, for testing nanoelectronic circuits in the semiconductor industry. Currently, it can be very difficult to troubleshoot circuits that don’t work. We are developing diamond-based quantum sensors, which additionally have the advantage that they function at room temperature. This is an important prerequisite for market acceptance of quantum sensors.

In what other areas might quantum sensors also be of interest?
Quantum sensor technology can also be used in medicine. Currently, brain waves are measured with the aid of superconductors, which require complex cooling with liquid helium and very large machines. With quantum sensors, it could one day be possible to perform these measurements using only a thin sensor film on the head instead of a bulky cap. This would not only put less strain on patients, but the procedure would also be more cost-effective for hospitals.

When might we see large-scale use of quantum sensors?
Superconducting sensors are already being used in medicine to detect brain injuries or brain tumors, or to measure brain activity following a stroke. Quantum sensor technology has already caught on in nanoelectronics, too, for performing fault analysis on modern electronic circuits. We are actually already in the second generation of quantum technology, and now we are asking ourselves things like: Where is there still room for additional improvement? What does industry need? What other applications can we develop? ..."

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