Hannover Messe Q.ANT shows a world first – industrial quantum sensors in use
Published on : Tuesday 24-05-2022
Thanks to quantum effects, sensor measurements enable new applications in the chemical and semiconductor industries, as well as in mechanical and electronic engineering.
Stuttgart/Hanover, May 23, 2022 – The Stuttgart start-up Q.ANT, a wholly owned subsidiary of the high-tech company TRUMPF, is presenting the world's first industrial-grade quantum sensors in use at the Hanover Fair. The particle sensors shown enable measurements of particles in gases, liquids or powders, which are not possible with today's measurement technology. The technological core of these sensors are specifically generated quantum effects in excited light, which can be used to analyze the size, shape and speed of microparticles in one and the same measurement. With the help of these measurements, information can be obtained that enables new applications in the semiconductor industry, the chemical industry and in mechanical and plant engineering. Several companies from these sectors are already using Q.ANT's quantum sensors for test purposes. At the Hannover Messe, Q.ANT is now showing two applications of the industrial quantum sensors in action for the first time:
Together with the sensor specialist SICK, Q.ANT is presenting a quantum sensor that can be used by food manufacturers to check the quality of coffee. The sensor measures the size and shape of the grain, which play a crucial role in the different flavours of the coffee. With the help of the quantum sensor, coffee manufacturers can continuously check the grain size during industrial grinding of the coffee and achieve the desired quality result. Appropriate powder measurements have already been carried out in cooperation with a food company. Thanks to SICK's worldwide distribution, the sensor is to be used in other applications in the food industry, especially in powder processing.
At the Hanover Fair, the control and automation specialist Festo is showing an algae reactor that, with the help of the Q.ANT quantum sensor, receives precise and real-time information about the growth of the organisms inside the system. For this purpose, the algae are fed to the sensor automatically and continuously by special microfluidic components from Festo, such as pumps for the precise control of the smallest amounts of liquid. The quantum sensor is able to optically analyze individual cells so that the amount of biomass can be determined precisely. In addition, he examines the vitality of the cells with the help of artificial intelligence. With the help of the quantum sensor, it is possible to react proactively to process events, such as reduced growth, and to intervene in order to enable faster and safer growth of the algae.
Algae are already extremely efficient during their natural photosynthesis outdoors and bind ten times more carbon dioxide (CO₂) than land plants. In bioreactors with the appropriate sensors, control technology and automation, the efficiency of the algae can be increased to a hundred times that of land plants. The substances created in this way can be used, among other things, as a starting material for pharmaceuticals, packaging or cosmetics and ultimately recycled in a climate-neutral manner.
Q.ANT is one of the leading German companies for industrial products based on quantum technology. Just a few months ago, the start-up from Stuttgart presented a photonic chip process that would allow the electronic mainframe computers that are established today to be expanded with processors that work with the latest quantum technology in just a few years.
In order to set up a demonstration and test facility for photonic quantum computer chips, Q.ANT has been leading a consortium with an initial budget of 50 million euros since March 2022 - around 42 million euros of which comes from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.