How is Quantum Sensors Enhancing People’s Lives?

October 2022

Quantum sensors are crucial to preventing dementia, increasing productivity, and enhancing cyberattack resistance.
Yes, quantum sensors help produce qualitative data about the world and help us learn important facts about our environment. This will support advancements in the Internet of Things, brain imaging, driverless vehicles, and navigation. So far, the applications of this science are varied, ranging from underworld mapping to enhancing infrastructure security to cutting-edge magnetic imaging for dementia.
Quantum sensors aiding magnetoencephalography
Quantum sensors can be directed internally toward the brain. Our image equipment is now comparable to a black-and-white camera. It is incredibly challenging to photograph the brain non-invasively because of its functional complexity—a rapidly communicating, changing network rather than an engine consisting of distinct parts—and its encasement in bone. Because it conducts electricity, intracranial fluid masks the electroencephalogram (EEG) signal, a widely used imaging technique. This presents a significant challenge in diagnosing and comprehending dementia and other conditions involving deep brain areas.
The development of magnetoencephalography, which measures the magnetic fields produced by current flowing through neuronal assemblies in the brain, is aided by quantum sensors. This technique will reveal how the brain creates and destroys networks of neurons on a millisecond timescale as part of the processes underlying cognition. Contrary to existing technology, this can be accomplished using quantum sensors even when the subject is moving. In the future, these advancements might even make it possible to play mind-controlled video games and assist in diagnosing and monitoring other illnesses, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Quantum clocks
Satellites keep time using atomic clocks, determining the microwave frequency required to cause electrons to hop from one orbit to another as they absorb and lose energy. The nuclear clock was one of the earliest quantum technologies to enter the mainstream market. With the advent of quantum technology, it may soon be possible to switch to optical clocks, which use lasers instead of microwaves for significantly higher precision.
In a world where GNSS networks are too dependent, quantum clocks could offer essential resilience mechanisms. GNSS networks are constantly threatened by malevolent attacks like jamming, spoofing, or state aggression to infrequent but genuine dangers like solar flares and space weather. According to data, a UK GNSS disruption could have a five-day economic impact of up to £5.2 billion, affecting emergency services, road logistics, and the maritime industry.
Quantum sensors exciting smart buildings
The development of intelligent buildings has made extensive use of quantum sensors. Building services, including ventilation, heating, and lighting, are managed based on how effectively quantum sensors track each building's daily energy consumption—these aid in lowering the building's overall energy usage, using fewer resources.
What are limiting quantum sensors?
Quantum sensors have excellent sensitivity but are susceptible to specific kinds of sounds, limiting their applicability in many situations. One impediment to developing quantum technologies is the lack of hardware for sensing the parameters outside the laboratory environment.
Due to these limitations, there is a domain gap between quantum physics research and real-world settings. Since quantum sensors are primarily intended for lab use, scaling one up to an industrial level is similarly tricky.
The signal-to-noise ratio of quantum sensors, such as those employed in metrology applications, is hampered by elements like quantum coherence, which is accompanied by environmental loss and noise.
Quantum sensors are anticipated to transition from quantum theory experiments and become a commercial quantum system standard as the need for improved quantum technologies and quantum sensing increases worldwide.

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