Quantum sensors in diamonds for medical applications

15 March 2024
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“This breakthrough is an important step forward in the research and development of quantum technologies applied to NMR spectroscopy”.

Quantum sensors in diamonds for medical applications: innovation and healthcare

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is a widely used technique for the structural analysis of molecules in fields such as chemistry, biology, medicine and natural sciences. It is also the most versatile detection technique currently available. It enables, for example, the analysis of potentially hazardous chemicals, chemical characterisation and early disease detection.

The aim of the QUENCH project is to significantly increase the sensitivity of benchtop NMR spectrometers by combining quantum detection. To do this, the QUENCH team is going to design quantum sensors in diamonds, which are devices capable of working on a micro-scale and detecting very small magnetic fields with high precision, to boost the sample’s NMR signal. This will allow NMR spectroscopy to be carried out with a more compact and cost-effective instrument, without the need for expensive and bulky superconducting magnets.

This breakthrough is an important step in the research and development of quantum technologies applied to NMR spectroscopy, and will also contribute to the progress of science and medicine.

More info about QUENCH

The QUENCH team is made up of experts from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany, the University of the Basque Country, TECNALIA, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany, the German company Magritek Ltd, and the Czech company AMIRES. It brings together complementary skills and knowledge in quantum physics, NMR spectroscopy, diamond nanotechnology, signal processing and machine learning.

The QUENCH (Quantum-Enhanced Benchtop Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer) project aims to develop diamond-based quantum sensors to improve nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in healthcare. TECNALIA is also part of the QUENCH consortium together with the UPV/EHU and five other institutions. With a budget of over €2.5m, it is part of the European Research and Innovation Programme (RIA), which funds research and innovation projects of high impact and excellence.