Health sector dominates the quantum sensor market

Quantum sensor
Sheila Zabeu -

November 17, 2023

The medical and health sectors are currently the most interested in quantum sensors, according to a study by QT Research, a company that produces analyses of the quantum technology sector. However, the dominance of these segments is expected to fall from around 60 percent of the market in 2023 to around 6 percent by 2032.

Quantum magnetometers, which are used, for example, in tests that measure magnetic fields to assess brain activity, heart problems, among other health conditions, will account for almost all quantum sensor revenues by 2023, however this share should only represent half of the market by 2032.

Although defense is the only sector with the potential to use virtually any type of quantum sensor, IQT’s research believes that the two markets that will grow in the future will be navigation/transport and construction. The total market for quantum sensors is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2032.

In the areas of transport, quantum sensors are very useful in high-precision navigation systems by overcoming GPS signals that are susceptible to interruptions, blockages and tampering.

In the case of the construction sector, quantum sensors can help in the exploration of underground infrastructures, tunnels and geological formations, reducing risks and saving time and money on projects.

The study highlights that if the Quantum Internet of Things (QIoT) takes off commercially, there will be a huge boost in the quantum sensor market. However, the path towards QIoT is fraught with uncertainties, such as the emergence of miniaturized quantum processing units (QPUs) and the development of a Quantum Internet.

Among the main companies already operating in this sector are SandboxAQ, a subsidiary of Google, and Infleqtion. Bosch has also created a division entirely focused on quantum sensors. Other companies in the quantum sensor space are AOSense, Atomionics, Element 6, GEM Systems, Honeywell, Miraex, M Squared Lasers, Muquans/iXBlue, Nomad Atomics, NuCrypt, QLM, Qnami, QZabre, Single Quantum and SBQuantum.

Quantum sensors use the properties of atoms and light to measure tiny changes in magnetic and electric fields, temperature, and deformation. They are used in applications where precision is a critical factor, such as in medicine and in some of the world’s most accurate clocks that power GPS systems.

Manufacturing quantum sensors

Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new manufacturing method for structuring quantum sensor particles into complex 3D configurations that can accurately detect changes in magnetic fields and temperature in microscopic environments, which could pave the way for innovative applications in materials science, biology, and chemistry.

In many quantum sensor applications, it is necessary to work at extremely low temperatures in order for them to function correctly. In addition, the materials need to be spotless and perfectly crystalline, which can limit their use in many applications. To solve this problem, the researchers employed additive manufacturing techniques to structure quantum sensor particles in 3D configurations.

“Our work demonstrates the potential for integrating quantum sensors with advanced additive manufacturing techniques, allowing us to create new designs that were previously impossible,” says Brian Blankenship, lead co-author of the study and a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. “In a few years, this technology could be used to incorporate sensors into microfluidic, electronic and biological systems and open up new opportunities for the widespread use of quantum sensors in applications we haven’t even imagined yet.”

As this new manufacturing technique allows for customization, it will be possible to precisely design structures with the desired properties, printing sensing elements on current microfluidic chips, as well as advanced semiconductor devices and even cellular structures. In addition, although the research focuses on measuring temperature and magnetic fields, it is believed that the work can be extended to also carry out other types of measurement.