Miegunyah Lecture: The Diamond Quantum Revolution

Modern devices, from smart phones to cars, are packed with sensors. And environmental monitoring, biochemical analytics, disease diagnostics and medical imaging rely on precision sensors.

Quantum technology promises a dramatic increase in sensitivity and energy efficiency of sensors, giving us the ability to detect the otherwise undetectable. But look in your phone, your car, or your local hospital’s MRI machine, and you won’t see any quantum sensors. Where are they?

A leap forward in sensor technology In practice, hardly any quantum sensors have been built. This is because quantum states, the central ingredient of any quantum device, are elusive and hard to maintain. But a new class of quantum sensors based on spin defects in diamond can reach stable, quantum-limited precision even under ambient conditions. Such sensors can be used for very precise detection of quantities like magnetic and electric fields, temperature and pressure. These applications are far reaching and promise to revolutionise such diverse fields as geoscience, chemical analytics and medical diagnostics.

And industry is starting to take notice. It is quite likely that the production of future high density hard disk drives will be enhanced by diamond quantum metrology, and future self-driving cars might be manoeuvred with the aid of a quantum reference made from diamond.

The time is now We are on the cusp of a revolution in precision quantum sensing technology, but we need industry to step up with large-scale investment in quantum sensor manufacturing to make this a reality. Join Miegunyah Fellow Professor Jörg Wrachtrup from the University of Stuttgart's Centre for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology as he illustrates the imminent real-life quantum applications which will revolutionise our digital future.

This event took place on Tues 3 Oct, 2017 at the University of Melbourne.