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Alongside quantum computing, quantum safe cryptography and wider quantum communications, quantum sensing is one of the commonly recognised pillars of quantum technology. It is a wide and disparate area, with a deep connection to metrology and many expected impacts across a diverse set of advanced timing, sensing and imaging applications.


In some areas of quantum technology we may need to wait some time for genuine widespread commercial applications to emerge. However, early quantum sensors are already at market in a variety of areas. Indeed in a number of fields the existing leading products are in fact an earlier generation of quantum sensor conceived before that term was coined.


GQI has analyzed progress across this field, up and down what we term the quantum sensing stack: the physics package, control package, control logic and framework required to access different sensing modalities (time, magnetic field, electric field, gravity & acceleration and others) and to deliver advanced applications. This has included a review of the activities of academic leaders, government programs and leading commercial majors and startups.  We believe this work puts activities across the field in vital context.


The strategic quantum sensing playing field


A diversity of platforms and methods being exploited leads to a complex commercial landscape. New quantum projects are competing with a spectrum of conventional technologies (some mature, some themselves just emerging). Quantum projects are also competing with each other and with projects on alternative quantum platforms. 


To watch in 2023

  • Are new NSF institutes and DOE centers accelerating US progress on sensors?

  • Can new Quantum Flagship projects AQuRA & SEQUOIA change the tempo in the EU?

  • Will German & French programs diverge or converge with respect to  EU collaboration?

  • What international collaboration will the UK Quantum Enabled PNT mission attract?

  • How will emerging programs in Canada and Australia change the sensing landscape?

  • What patterns of collaboration will we see on quantum sensing across ‘western allies’?

  • Is China underrated, underperforming  or undercover on quantum sensors?

  • Which clock designs will edge ahead in key use cases: compact, fieldable, strategic?

  • Where can new technologies start to displace incumbents: magnetometers?

  • Will OPM-MEG be able to sustain its momentum towards clinical adoption?

  • Who is close to true vehicle-deployment of their cold atom interferometer? 

  • What new in-field demonstrations will we see of gravity or magnetic subsurface imaging?

  • Can single photon LiDAR techniques demonstrate a genuine consumer use case?

  • Will bio imaging provide the first true entanglement based commercial sensor?

  • Will we see more export control regulation impacting the segment?

  • Can more investors be attracted to the quantum sensors segment?

Outlook Report | Quantum Sensing '23

  • The GQI Outlook series is the predominant and authoritative, annual overview of the quantum tech space.

    Provided across quantum applications, outlooks analyze computing hardware and software, algorithms and other areas with an in-depth look at the technologies, products, vendors - and the scientific current state driving these.

    Anyone interested in quantum tech, will not find a more detailed or valuable analysis of the state than the GQI Outlooks.

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