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Nanoscale magnetic imaging with quantum sensors

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NanoMAGIQ (Nanoscale magnetic imaging with quantum sensors)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2018-06-01 al 2019-05-31

Magnetic imaging is a tool widely used in a large variety of applications ranging from basic material science, to electronic device testing, to medical diagnostic. But classical technologies fail to provide good enough resolution to address the nanometer scale. Yet today, this corresponds to the process size in the semiconductor industry.

The problem of spatial resolution manifests in particular for the development of high-density non-volatile storage solutions. A promising technology, called MRAM (for magnetic RAM), is being miniaturized to combine the high performance and reliability already demonstrated with the need for large storage capacity and energy efficiency. In practice memory bit size in the 10 nm range are targeted. Yet the development phase is long, largely because certain key properties are not known and can only be evaluated through very indirect electrical measurement, late in the chip manufacturing process.

Qnami develops a solution to allow scientists and engineers to measure magnetic fields with 10nm precision, allowing them to have direct access to key properties early in the fabrication process and control the design and development of their new devices.

The main objectives of the present project were to reach out to beta testers in the academic segment to validate our technological approach and identify the value we bring in the semiconductor segment.

Our results demonstrate that our value proposition applies to both academic and industrial segments.
Qnami's strategy to address the demand for high precision is to develop radically new solutions based on quantum technologies.

By leveraging an extreme sensitivity to their environment quantum sensor offer a boost in performance compared to their classical counterpart. Diamonds represent a unique platform for quantum sensors, which combines performance, robustness and compactness.

Qnami has developed processes to perform non-invasive transformation of quantum sensors in diamond. We apply them to the fabrication of a magnetic sensor for nanoscale imaging, the Quantilever MX. Through careful design and engineering we aim to streamline production of high quality devices. Taking further steps down the supply chain, we develop instrumentation and software to upgrade classical metrology tools to quantum performance.

One of the main goal of the proposal was to evaluate the needs from our target market and ensure a product market fit. Our main findings are the following:
- There is a clear demand for metrology solution at the nanoscale. Specifically, there is today only a limited amount of tools providing quantitative measurement of physical properties such as electromagnetic fields or current and a clear gap when it comes to high precision measurement.
- Our technology address exactly that market, but is not likely to address a large number of users if not developed in a full turn-key solution. User friendliness is key to capture a significant part of the market.

A second critical aspect of the project was to assess the size of the semiconductor market and evaluate whether we could identify a unique selling proposition based on our technology. A careful market study brought the following conclusions:
- The demand for high precision measurement is extremely strong in the R&D environment, which represents a $400Mn market.
- Measurement speed represents a serious challenge to consider further integration for systematic quality control in the production environment.

A third objective was to initiate the industrialization of our processes. There, we successfully managed to
- Develop user-friendly hardware for the handling of our sensors
- Optimize our fabrication costs
The NanoMagiQ project proposed by Qnami and Unibas partners was highly innovative. The impact of quantum technologies and their ability to solve critical problems is just being uncovered. The present project represents a significant step forward in the specific area of quantum sensing, where Qnami is a pioneer industry.
Over the one year project, Qnami recruited four new staff, two of who actively participated in the project. The ethnic diversity at our company both demonstrate a performing education system in Europe (employees recruited from Germany, France, Lithuania, Switzerland) and the attractiveness of our continent to talents looking for cutting edge businesses (employees from Brazil, China or Mexico).
The success of the project also contributed to the ability of Qnami to raise venture capital. Further growth is expected, including a doubling of the team size in the next 18 months.
Quantilever from Qnami