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Quantum Microwave Detection with Diamond Spins

Project description

Boosting efficiency and speed of microwave sensors

Microwave technology is used in a wide range of scientific and technological fields, including telecommunications, astronomy, navigation and air traffic control and medical diagnostics. The EU-funded QuMicro project plans to develop ultrasensitive sensors that can detect microwaves with unprecedented sensitivity. The new platform for detecting microwave signals at room temperature will use nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond. If researchers succeed, the proposed sensor will be able to measure the frequency, amplitude and phase of microwave fields over extremely fast time scales. QuMicro’s system could draw attention as an enabling technology for commercialising next-generation technologies, including quantum computers.


Microwave detection is one of the most widely spread technologies in our society, spanning across areas as diverse as telecommunications, computers, radio-astronomy, navigation and air traffic control, spectroscopy, and medical diagnostics. In this proposal we address emerging and advanced MW applications that start from the same basis – a need for ultrasensitive detection with a high spectral resolution, and, in addition, requesting portable integrated instruments. Emerging quantum technology devices acting as sensors can lead to a major breakthrough in the application field through high sensitivity and frequency resolution. In QuMicro, we propose to develop a quantum technology for the next generation of microwave detection devices, surpassing the capabilities of all currently available methods .The devices will enable the rapid measurement of the frequency, amplitude, and phase of microwave fields. We will achieve extremely fast (nanosecond-scale) transient detection, a broad detection range spanning tens of gigahertz, and parts-per-million frequency resolution with ultrahigh sensitivity. The QuMicro system is based on a novel detection scheme and on the pioneering innovation concept of photoelectrically detected magnetic resonance with nitrogen-vacancy colour centre qubits in diamond, as a highly performant platform for microwave signal detection at room temperature. We will start our developments from a theoretical framework for quantum microwave sensing protocols and devices, and leveraging schemes based on many-body quantum correlations, implemented in QuMicro engineered devices.To achieve these goals, QuMicro will connect with scientists and engineers across a broad range of topics. The photoelectrical readout guarantees compatibility with scalable semiconductor electronics, providing a direct outlook towards commercial applications and a science-to-technology leap for microwave sensors with unrivalled performance.


Net EU contribution
€ 684 795,00
3001 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 684 795,00

Participants (5)