Quantum sensing in space

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Q-CTRL introduces a new quantum sensing that is “software-defined”

  • Q-CTRL is creating a new generation of ultrasensitive “software-defined” quantum sensors
  • The new technologies could have practical applications in the fields of space exploration, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT)

For good reason, quantum computing is receiving a lot of attention. It is poised to bolster the collection of computer resources with a powerful new tool. Every significant development in recent years has been fueled by improvements in computing, including quantum sensing, which may significantly lower the cost of mineral mining, allow autonomous vehicles to travel without a GPS signal, and aid in the prediction and prevention of droughts.

Although quantum sensing isn’t as well-known as quantum computing, the market is quickly closing in. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which accounts for a market share of US$147 million in 2021 and is anticipated to increase to US$332 million in 2030 at a CAGR of 10%, is listed by Straits Research as the second most dominant region after Europe.

Additionally, Asia is a developing region with rapidly expanding economies, including China and India, which have seen strong sales of these quantum sensors due to their respective strong militaries.

While the majority of the coverage surrounding quantum research focuses on computers that take advantage of quantum mechanics’ unusual properties, the related field of quantum sensors also merits attention. Having said that, Q-CTRL, a global leader in developing useful quantum technologies through quantum control infrastructure software, debuted its quantum sensing division, which has grown to be one of the biggest in the world.

Quantum sensing in action

In order to measure gravity, motion, and magnetic fields, Q-CTRL is creating a new generation of ultrasensitive “software-defined” quantum sensors. This is a wholly original approach to quantum sensing. By fusing improvements in system design with novel modes of operation made feasible by cutting-edge software, AI automation, and signal processing, Q-CTRL makes capabilities conceivable that would not otherwise be possible.

The new technologies could have practical applications in the fields of space exploration, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), mineral exploration, magnetic anomaly detection, persistent earth observation for climate monitoring, and defense.

The Army QTC is part of the more than US$60 million in publicly reported quantum sensing contracts that Q-sensing CTRL’s team and its partners have granted over the previous 18 months. This includes work on a hybrid classical-quantum inertial navigation project with Advanced Navigation and works on space-qualified quantum sensors under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) and CRC-P contracts.

The goal of Q-CTRL, according to CEO and Founder Michael Biercuk, is to make quantum technology usable. The company understood from the beginning that quantum sensing offered a practical way to quickly turn their expertise in quantum control into value capture and new sovereign capabilities.

This year, the Q-CTRL sensing team will show how similar ideas might be used to tackle the problem of locating electromagnetic radiation sources using its own “software-defined” atomic magnetometers, such as those that might be released by enemy communication or command-and-control system. Due to Q-innovative CTRL’s approach to this issue, quantum magnetometers can now be used in the field instead of just being laboratory-based instruments.

The physics of extremely small objects are used by quantum technology to carry out practical functions. Although the technology’s high sensitivity to its environment is typically a drawback, quantum sensing enables users to leverage this fragility to their advantage by detecting minute signals for aerospace, defense, and civilian applications.

Furthermore, quantum sensing will hasten the development of some of the largest industries in existence today, ranging from mining to networks for autonomous vehicles, particularly in Asia, where the development of autonomous vehicles is now progressing slowly. The most intriguing aspect, though, is how quantum sensors, which are driven and enabled by quantum control, will offer hitherto unimaginable possibilities.