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Quantum sensing Industry growing rapidly to enable ultra sensitive quantum radars, imaging, and navigation

We are in midst of the second quantum revolution moving from merely computing quantum properties of systems to exploiting them. Researchers are developing new capabilities in secure communication, ultra-sensitive and high signal to noise physical sensing of the environment and Quantum Information Science (QIS). Yet many scientists believe that quantum will enjoy its first real commercial success in sensing. That’s because sensing can take advantage of the very characteristic that makes building a quantum computer so difficult: the extraordinary sensitivity of quantum states to the environment.


Quantum sensors are measuring device that takes advantage of quantum correlations, such as states in a quantum superposition or entanglement, for better sensitivity and resolution than can be obtained by classical systems. A quantum sensor can measure the effect of the quantum state of another system on itself. The mere act of measurement influences the quantum state and alters the probability and uncertainty associated with its state during measurement. For decades, quantum measurements have been used in metrology to define fundamental constants such as time. More recently, this approach is being applied to sensing.


When measurements are based on quantum phenomena, such as the energy difference between two well-defined quantum states, sensors have the ability to reach unprecedented precision and accuracy that doesn’t drift over time. High sensitivity and stability in combination with a small form factor provide transformational capabilities with applications spanning from GPS-free global navigation and cryogen-free high-precision magnetometry to sensing within mesoscale structure and measurements of individual nuclear or electron spins.

Fore detailed explanation of Quantum Sensor technology and applications please visit: The Quantum Sensor Revolution: Pushing the Boundaries of Measurement

Quantum sensors include atomic clocks, single-photon detectors, PAR sensors, quantum LiDAR and quantum radar, gravity sensors, atomic interferometers, magnetometers, quantum imaging devices, spin-qubit-based sensors, and quantum rotation sensors. We also take a look at materials used for quantum sensors, especially diamond and graphene


Quantum sensors also useful in many military applications such as through wall imaging, detecting deeply buried structures and stealth airplanes. In particular, quantum radar can be used to detect targets that cannot be discerned through conventional radar, and quantum navigation similarly leverages quantum properties to create a precise form of positioning system that may eventually replace GPS.


Whether they are responding to the gravitational pull of buried objects or picking up magnetic fields from the human brain, quantum sensors can detect a wide range of tiny signals from the world around us. Kai Bongs, a physicist at Birmingham University, U.K., believes that gravity-measuring quantum sensors in particular “will become more widespread quite quickly,” with a potential market of perhaps US$1 billion a year.



Quantum Sensor technology

Quantum sensing has become a distinct and rapidly growing branch of research within the area of quantum science and technology, with the most common platforms being spin qubits, trapped ions and flux qubits.


For over 30 years, academics have been exploring the strange effects of quantum superposition – the principle that 2 or more quantum states can be added together to result in another valid quantum state – to measure gravity. This is done by comparing wave-particle duality – the concept that quantum entities can be described both as particles and waves – in atoms of the element rubidium. By comparing wave-particle duality with a laser beam, the instrument will be able to detect very small changes in the way atoms fall freely in a vacuum, determining the local strength of gravity. If the measurement is sensitive enough, it will be able to detect if there are voids, pipes, tunnels and oil and gas reserves in the ground beneath your feet.


Atom interferometers could also be used to build navigation devices that continue to work even when contact with GPS satellites is lost, as can happen in a tunnel or, more ominously, when signals are deliberately jammed. Keeping on course in this way relies on dead reckoning, the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes to continuously update a vehicle’s position, orientation and velocity with respect to a known starting point.


Like spring gravimeters, conventional accelerometers experience drift, as their pendula warp over time. In contrast, quantum accelerometers—essentially gravimeters with their laser beams flipped along the acceleration axis—are very stable. Although the atoms’ finite free-fall time and need for preparation prevent continuous operation, which is often provided by conventional accelerometers, they enable proper calibration.

Quantum gyroscopes, meanwhile, work by generating a phase difference between atom waves propagating in opposite directions around a rotating ring. Such technology has been developed by AOSense, a company in Sunnyvale, Calif., USA, set up in 2004 by atomic physicist Mark Kasevich and two colleagues at Stanford University, USA. Often working with the U.S. military, the firm built prototype gradiometers, gyroscopes and accelerometers for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The aim, according to a 2014 story in Physics Today, was to make inertial measurement units that could fit on a fingertip. But in the end, Kasevich says, the necessary lasers and optical modulators couldn’t be made small enough to shrink gyroscopes below “about 100 cm3.”


Making atomic sensors competitive with existing technology is “a struggle,” according to Kasevich, because the subsystems that they rely on, such as lasers and vacuum chambers, are large and complex, and have not had their costs driven down by mass markets. Trying to shrink gyroscopes in particular incurs “crazy development costs,” says Pereira Dos Santos. One option would be to guide rather than drop atoms, but that, he says, is “very exploratory … and it might never work.”


But another type of quantum technology has simple subsystems and can be built using standard materials-science techniques: nitrogen–vacancy (NV) centers. These are atom-like defects in a synthetic diamond crystal consisting of a nitrogen atom and a gap in place of two carbon atoms. NV centers can emit red light when excited by green, but the probability of doing so depends on the spin states of their electrons. By placing the spin states in a superposition, microwaves with just the right frequency can change the emission intensity.


Crucially, this quantum state can persist for up to a millisecond at room temperature, thanks to the stiff diamond lattice that shields the NV centers from vibrations. And, because changes in the local magnetic field will change the spacing of the spin states and knock the microwave frequency off-resonance—with the change proportional to the field strength—NV centers could potentially make extremely sensitive magnetometers. The system is also sensitive to variations in electric field, strain and temperature, as these change the distance between atoms and, again, shift the resonance.





Commercialization of Quantum Sensors

Quantum sensors are just becoming commercially available.  Numerous scientists working on quantum sensors have set up companies to commercialize their technology, but few have actual products on the market.


Several start-up companies are looking to commercialize NV technology, in areas such as biomedicine, while some multinationals are also entering the fray. These include the German engineering giant Bosch, which is building a prototype NV sensor to monitor charging and prevent excess currents in car batteries. The French electronics company Thales, meanwhile, is applying magnetic field gradients across NV diamond crystals to identify frequency components in unknown microwave spectra.


According to Thales’ head of applied quantum physics, Thierry Debuisschert, 5G network operators could use this technology, for example, to prevent interference between neighboring cell towers. But he says that it will likely take several years to overcome technical and commercial obstacles, such as working out how best to collect the faint red light emitted by the crystal. Likewise, Bosch researcher Robert Roelver says that his company probably won’t market a device for another five to ten years.




Global quantum sensors market

The market for quantum sensors is expected to reach US$ 850.6 Mn by the end of 2033, up from an anticipated US$ 278.5 Mn in 2022. In 2023, it is anticipated that the market for quantum sensors would be worth $304.1 million. Between 2023 and 2033, the market for quantum sensors is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 10.8%


The global quantum sensors market is still in the early stages of growth and is attracting significant investments from market participants due to anticipated growth. Market participants are investing in the development of new products to explore the potential applications of quantum sensing. Thus, the increasing investments in the market will drive the quantum sensor market growth during the forecast period. Rising investments in quantum technology by market participants are expected to boost market growth. Also, the growing number of strategic partnerships in the market are anticipated to fuel the growth of the quantum sensors market.


Market Drivers

Increasing investments in quantum technology by various market players and growing research and development activities in the field of quantum sensing are major driving factors behind the growth of the market. Increasing research and developmental activities related to quantum technology is expected to have ample opportunities in a different field such as military, construction industry, etc. Features such as high credibility and accuracy are making this technology accessible across various sectors.


Growing adoption of quantum sensing solutions in various industries and applications such as material science and quantum physics, increasing developments of quantum gravity sensors, rising demand of quantum sensors to monitor volcanoes to give advanced warning of volcanic activity, a surge in the adoption of quantum sensors in cars to detect pedestrians 100m away or a few metres away and increased demand of quantum sensor from military and defence industry is expected to improve the growth of the market.


  • Increasing Investment in Space Communication Key Drivers for the Global Quantum Sensors Market

Expanding research and formative exercises connected with quantum technology are supposed to give sufficient chances to showcase development in various fields, for example, positioning frameworks, electric and magnetic field sensors, communication innovation, microscopy, mineral prospecting, and seismology, alongside applications in the military, development industry, automotive, and so on. Highlights like high credibility and accuracy are making this innovation available across different areas. A significant exploration that is progressing in this field is in the area of dispatches.

For case, an exploratory study conducted by the US Army Research Laboratory revealed the advances in the amount of detector technology that could enable their soldiers to detect communication signals over the entire radio frequency, from 0 to 100 GHz. Traditionally, similar wide frequency spectral content was insolvable by a single antenna with a traditional receiver system. The exploration development has avoided the demand for multiple systems of individual antennas, amplifiers, and other factors. Further, research studies are also being conducted with a focus on the manufacturing and production of quantum sensors.

For instance, a research study conducted by the University of Bristol revealed the discovery of a new method that could be employed to build quantum sensors with ultra-high precision. A conducted research said that such quantum sensors were able to avoid the presence of vibrations due to solid materials that are, in fact, much larger objects and are usually considered to be detrimental.

  • Increased Investments in the Space Communication Driving  the Global Quantum Sensors Market Growth

With the highly advanced quantum sensors and the applications it caters to, the space industry also finds a huge range of applications of such quantum sensors for geo-mapping, communication and navigation channels, and other important applications. With such applications and the latest space technology, there has been a substantial increase in investments in the development and utilization of quantum sensors.

The said market of quantum sensors is mostly dependent on the advancements taking place in quantum technology and similar dynamics. The increasing demand for space communication applications and increasing investments in the same are expected to boost the need for the market studied.

Quantum Sensors Market Restraints

  • High Deployment and Maintenance Costs Hindering Growth of Quantum Sensors Market

Various types of quantum sensors, together with atomic clocks, magnetic sensors, par quantum sensors, and gravity sensors, are being used and are witnessing extreme industrial reputation. But, the high costs of deployment and high upkeep prices could prevent the market boom all through the forecast duration.

There is a high level of preliminary investment required in end-user industries for integrating such sensors in packages, along with self-sufficient riding or autonomous driving, advanced imaging technologies both at short and lengthy distances, clinical progress, and permitting the distinct mapping of the underground. The excessive expenses of putting in place these structures are concerned with proper setup, design, and fabrication. Also, the operational and maintenance cost of those sensors is on a piece higher aspect.

The gathering of accumulated dust and different soluble deposits on these sensors requires everyday cleaning, simplest by means of water and/or a slight detergent, which include dish-washing soap and vinegar for maintenance. Such cleaning exercise is quite essential to ensure the accuracy of the calibration. Regular protection is needed to avoid negative outcomes at the cosine reaction of the sensor for the reason that acrylic fabric utilized in some of the quantum sensors may be crazed with exposure to alcohol or natural solvents.


However, challenges such as quantum decoherence, the inconsistency between separating the responsive quantum states from external conflicts, and reliance on only some key providers are major restraining factors that could hamper the growth of the market.


Countries are giving thrust to Quantum technology as it is expected to have significant implications for multiple aspects of future military operations. And, China is focused to utilize this technology for its military applications and aimed to become a leader in quantum information science. For instance, in September 2016, Chinese scientists announced their creation of a single-photon quantum radar, which takes advantage of entanglement between photon pairs, those were capable of detecting targets up to 100 kilometers away with high accuracy.


For instance, in October 2018, the US Army scientists created innovative quantum sensors to detect the communication signals over the radio frequency spectrum. This quantum sensor uses high energized, super-sensitive atoms named as Rydberg atoms. This quantum sensor provides military soldiers an approach to sense communication signals over the wide spectral coverage range from 0 to 100 GHz. Nowadays, quantum sensing technology transforming numerous areas for the military sector, from delivering highly precise positioning information to discovering submarines in the world’s oceans, which is further expected to improve growth of market during the forecast period.

Segmentation of the Global Quantum Sensors Market

The quantum sensors market is segmented into the following categories:

By product type: atomic clocks, magnetic sensors, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) quantum sensors, and gravity sensors.
By application: military and defense, automotive, healthcare, agriculture, oil and gas, and others.
By region: North America is segmented into the United States, Canada, and Mexico; Europe is segmented into the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Germany, and Rest of Europe; Asia-Pacific is segmented into China, Japan, India, and Rest of Asia-Pacific; Rest of the World (RoW) is segmented into Brazil, the Middle East, Africa, and Rest of RoW.

The global quantum sensors market share is segmented by product and by application, where the by-product segmentation is further classified into atomic clocks, magnetic sensors, and PAR quantum sensors. The magnetic sensors segment is dominating the global market with a market share of USD 222 million in 2021 and is expected to grow to USD 515 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 10%. The magnetic sensors are mostly used for military and security applications like detection, discrimination, and identification of ferromagnetic materials, navigation, position tracking, and antitheft systems.

The upward thrust within the commercialization of quantum sensors for military and defense programs and increasing investments from governments in many developing international locations are the cause of the increased demand for quantum sensors and their technology. Magnetic sensors are essential for many security applications, as the magnetic field is invisible and penetrates through maximum materials.

Medical applications for quantum sensors will reach almost $270 million by 2023 as the result of a broad range of fast growing applications in medical imaging and medical wearables. Quantum imaging devices may be used to supplement existing medical imaging modalities and there will be a large growth in demand for SQUID sensors as the result of the growing number of applications for magnetoencephalography (MEG), which can be more comfortable than MRIs

The atomic clocks segment is leading the global quantum sensors market and is estimated to exceed the market valuation of USD 120 milllion by the end of 2023.  Sales of atomic clocks are being driven by new applications such as smart grids and “time stamping” in the financial services industry, as well as growth of private navigation systems outside of public GPS. There are also important technological changes in atomic clocks, notably the emergence of chip-scale devices

Conventional magnetic sensors, inclusive of fluxgates, induction coils, and resonance magnetometers, at the moment, are being complemented with the aid of new sensor types, such as sr (Anisotropic Magneto Resistors), GMR (massive Magneto-Resistance), SDT (Spin-dependent Tunneling), and GSR (large Magneto-Impedance) sensors. The second dominant segmentation by-product is the atomic clocks, which account for a market share of USD 169 million in 2021 and will grow to USD 338 million in 2030 at a CAGR of 8%. Atomic clocks discover major applications in space exploration activities and related studies, as those areas depend on sensors for technological know-how measurements and spacecraft operation.

With the growing advancements in sensing precisions, quantum phenomena are being used more and more, as it’s far predicted that sensors utilizing quantum homes will offer new and drastically progressed abilities. As an example, launched in 2019, NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock is a vital step toward permitting spacecraft to safely navigate independently in the deep space area as opposed to depending on the time-consuming system to acquire directions from Earth. The Deep space Atomic Clock will enable a shift to an extra green, flexible, and scalable clock structure to be able to gain destiny navigation and radio technology.

The third segment under the product is the PAR quantum sensors, USD 60 million in 2021 and reaching USD 121 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 8%. Quantum (PAR) sensors are well-known for the size of photo-synthetically active radiation (PAR), on the whole, used by agricultural professionals. One of the standard packages of quantum sensors includes Photosynthetic Photon Flux (PPF) size over plant canopies in outdoor environments or greenhouses and growth chambers.

Light is an essential element of photosynthesis, and it influences several factors, consisting of plant shape and structure, and reproduction. Increasing calls for plant and crop research and measuring energetic photosynthetic radiation for agriculture and industrial horticulture programs is growing the demand for the market studied.

When segmented by application, the said market is classified based on the use of such quantum sensors in the military & defense, and automotive industries. The military and defense segmentation has a major market share of USD 142 million in 2021 and is expected to grow to USD 304 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 9%. Military and defense are currently the number one programs of quantum sensors, attributable to the high rate of investments by way of private and government navy and defense businesses in the development of quantum technology.

In recent years, quantum technology is gaining growing interest from governments of many developed international locations, which is also growing the commercialization of quantum sensors, mainly for navy and protection packages.

The increasing investment through army and defense businesses in digital conflict (EW) technology is a major driving force of the studied segment’s boom. Within the last decade, many evolved army businesses were discovering quantum technology, particularly for enhancing communications, precision navigation, and precision timing. The automotive industry is the second dominant segmentation of the global quantum sensors market, which accounted for a market value of USD 97 million in 2021 and is anticipated to grow to USD 226 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 10%.


Regional Analysis

Europe is the leading market shareholder with a revenue generation of USD 167 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 350 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 9%. Europe being the industrial hub and with major military powers like Germany, has the highest growth rate in terms of the quantum sensors market.

After Europe, the second most dominating region in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for a market share of USD 147 million in 2021 and is expected to grow to USD 332 million in 2030 at a CAGR of 10%. Asia is one of the growing regions with the heavily increasing economies like India and China has a great sale of such quantum sensors as both the countries have one of the top army power.

The third and the least revenue-generating region among the listed regions in North America, which accounts for USD 115 million in 2021 and grows to USD 239 million by 2030 at a CAGR of  9%.


Quantum Sensor Industry

Numerous scientists working on quantum sensors have set up companies to commercialize their technology, but few have actual products on the market. One that does is Muquans, on the outskirts of Bordeaux, France. Set up by colleagues of Pereira Dos Santos at SYRTE, Muquans focuses on gravimeters made from atom interferometers, which exploit the quantum-mechanical property of wave-particle duality (see sidebar, below, and “Then and Now,” OPN, June 2019).


Some of these devices – such as PAR sensors – represent relatively mature technology. Others – gravity sensors and quantum LiDAR – are only beginning to make an impact.  Kai Bongs, a physicist at Birmingham University, U.K., believes that gravity-measuring quantum sensors in particular “will become more widespread quite quickly,” with a potential market of perhaps US$1 billion a year.


Some of the  end-user markets there will be the most significant opportunities including: Autonomous vehicles, navigation, GPS, air traffic control, agriculture, telecom, smart grids, construction, finance, healthcare, defense, aerospace, the Internet of Things and R&D.


AOSense, Radix, GWR Instruments Inc., Technology (Microsemi), Networking (Oscilloquartz), Spectrum Technologies Inc., METER Group, Adcon Telemetry Gmbh, Apogee Instrument Inc., Thomas Industrial Network Inc., Microchip, Impedans Ltd., M-Squared Lasers Limited, Skye Instruments Ltd., Biospherical Instruments Inc. and ADVA Optical.


The quantum sensors market will also provide significant opportunities in the future for specialty chemical companies and firms that sell novel materials in research quantities. For example, there is considerable materials development work around building new kinds of superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs). Quantum dots, graphene, silicon and industrial diamond appear to also have important roles to play in the future of quantum sensors.


key players active in the global market, including AOSense, Apogee Instruments Inc., GWR Instruments Inc., Microsemi Corp., M Squared Laser Ltd., Sea-Bird Scientific and Skye Instruments Ltd.


Major Five Quantum Sensors Companies:

ADVA Optical Networking SE

ADVA Optical Networking SE offers quantum sensors through its subsidiary Oscilloquartz SA (Oscilloquartz). The company’s key offering include OSA 3230 Series, which is a cesium clock that offers precise timing for both next-generation networks and legacy infrastructures such as synchronous optical networking (SONET)/synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH).

AOSense Inc.

AOSense Inc. has business operations under various segments, which include atom sources, electronics, sensors, and laser systems. The company offers Gravimeter, which is an accelerometer that is used to measure local gravity or variations in the gravitational field of the Earth.

Apogee Instruments Inc.

Apogee Instruments Inc. offers quantum sensors and meters that are used for PAR measurement, specifically in research and agricultural projects. The company’s key product offerings include Full-spectrum quantum sensor, which provides an accurate measurement of PAR from all light sources that are used to grow plants and corals.

GWR Instruments Inc.

GWR Instruments Inc. offers iGrav, a portable superconducting gravity meter specifically designed for geophysical applications that require much higher stability and precision than those provided by mechanical spring-type gravity meters.

Kipp & Zonen BV

Kipp & Zonen BV owns and operates businesses under various segments such as solar instruments, atmospheric science instruments, DustIQ soiling monitoring system, and RT1 smart rooftop monitoring system. The company’s key offerings include PQS1 PAR, a quantum sensor that offers the measurement of PAR with easy indoor and outdoor installation, ideally suited for studies of crop growth in greenhouses.




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