report Micro, Nano & Materials
macQsimal, CSEM


CSEM to develop quantum sensors

Over the next three years, the CSEM will be coordinating a project to develop quantum sensors in the context of the Quantum Technologies Flagship Initiative. The University of Basel, too, is one of 14 industrial and academic partners involved.

Europe is striving to lead the way in the development and use of quantum technologies. To this end, the European Commission has launched its Quantum Technologies Flagship Initiative. This research programme has been allocated funding of €1 billion. One project under the Initiative – macQsimal – will be applying advanced quantum effects to develop new sensors and measurement systems with outstanding sensitivities, precision and resolution. The objective of the flagship is to consolidate and expand European scientific leadership in the area of quantum sensors, the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) reported in a press release. The project is being coordinated by the CSEM and has been granted a budget of €10.2 million over the next three years.

It will exploit the potential of atomic vapour cells to provide a new generation of highly efficient sensors. A multi-target technology platform will be built up, which can be used for creating high-impact prototype devices for applications such as autonomous navigation, non-invasive medical diagnosis and drug detection.

Mario El-Khoury, CEO of the CSEM, believes this project has great promise. “We have spent a decade developing miniature atomic clocks and other systems whose core quantum technology – atomic vapour cells – has the potential to enable sensors with phenomenal performances,” he commented in the press release: “This could lead to huge leaps of improvement in many domains.”

The project involves 14 industrial and academic partners from across Europe, including the Universities of Basel and Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Two sites of the CSEM are also taking part, namely the headquarters in Neuchâtel and the CSEM centre in Muttenz. Christian Bosshard, Director of the CSEM centre in Muttenz, predicts that developments from the macQsimal project could lead to a wide range of applications in the area of biomedical sensors with great potential for the region.

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