Q.ANT, Bosch, TRUMPF and German Aerospace Center aim to use quantum sensors to control satellites
Project partners plan to launch first satellite with quantum technology attitude control in 2027 // Quantum sensors are a key technology for accurately controlling the orientation of communication satellites // Scientific expertise to be provided by the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik // German government allocates eight-figure sum to support QYRO project
Stuttgart/Cologne/Berlin, August 26, 2022 – Quantum technology start-up Q.ANT, Bosch, TRUMPF and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have formed a partnership to develop space-qualified attitude sensors. The aim is to use these quantum technology-based sensors to achieve high-precision attitude control of miniaturized satellites and improve worldwide data communications. The sensors’ ability to maintain precise orientation of the satellites in relation to each other will enable high-speed data connectivity – and that makes them a key part of the technology puzzle. “This strategic partnership shows the tremendous potential that lies in the collaborative development of pioneering technologies. The deployment of quantum technology in the aerospace industry is a huge opportunity for Germany as a major industrial hub,” says Michael Förtsch, CEO of Q.ANT. By supporting a global network of satellites in low Earth orbit, this new collaborative venture will improve Internet connectivity, particularly in more remote regions. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) hopes to launch its first miniaturized satellites equipped with quantum technology in five years’ time. Attitude and position sensors that harness quantum effects can be used not only for satellites, but also for autonomous driving systems and indoor navigation technologies in factories, logistics warehouses and other facilities. The project has a research budget of some 28 million euros, much of which has been provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The partnership also includes the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH), a research Institute that specializes in developing laser diodes, particularly for applications in space.
Quantum sensors guarantee extremely high precision
Reliable transmission of satellite communication signals can only be achieved by constantly maintaining high-precision attitude control of satellites in their orbit. If a satellite moves out of position, the signals get weaker. The consortium plans to use quantum technology to permanently enhance measurement stability. Quantum sensors are particularly suitable for deployment in satellites thanks to their ability to provide reliably accurate measurement results and excellent performance in a compact, low-weight package. This solution can keep satellites correctly oriented in space over a period of years.
Solid partnership between research and industry
The goal of developing European quantum sensors is to achieve greater independence from the global market. Q.ANT will lead the collaborative development project and develop the overall sensor concept. It is also responsible for integrating the various sensor components and keeping them in precise and stable alignment with each other to ensure they function smoothly and reliably in the satellite. “The job of our sensor is essentially to improve the satellite’s equilibrium,” says Michael Förtsch, CEO of Q.ANT. The Stuttgart, Germany-based quantum technology start-up will also be supplying key electronic components such as a very low-noise detection system. Bosch researchers are working on the development of a miniaturized, space-qualified sensor cell. “The measuring cell is the core component of the quantum sensor,” says Thomas Kropf, who heads up research at Bosch. It is filled with an atomic gas that is excited by laser beams and magnetic fields, which cause the atoms to spin. The rotation of the sensor causes changes in the rotational speed of this spin. This provides high-precision feedback on changes in the satellite’s attitude, thereby enabling more accurate attitude control. “We’re delighted to be part of the project and to be able to contribute our expertise in quantum sensors. It’s another chapter in the success story of MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) sensor technology at Bosch.”
TRUMPF will contribute laser expertise from two of its German locations. TRUMPF Photonic Components in Ulm will supply the miniature laser diodes. These are currently used in smartphones, industrial optical sensors and similar applications, but TRUMPF will now be teaming up with the Ferdinand-Braun Institut to prepare these robust beam sources for use in quantum technology and in space. “I can see a tremendously bright future for our miniature lasers in a whole variety of new applications. This is the kind of government-funded project that gives Germany a real boost as a major hub of photonics expertise. There are so many innovative technologies that can benefit from the know-how and state-of-the-art production facilities that we have built up over the years,” says Berthold Schmidt, CEO of TRUMPF Photonic Components. TRUMPF’s Berlin location specializes in providing solutions in the fields of sensor, laser and quantum technology. It combines the light sources from Ulm with additional measurement technology and then integrates the resulting system into robust, miniaturized housings using innovative assembly and automation techniques. The final product is temperature-stabilized to ensure it can withstand the extreme conditions in space. The Galileo Competence Center at DLR is responsible for all space-related aspects. As well as ensuring the system is space-qualified, it will also be in charge of the implementation, transportation and operation of the satellite. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the joint project QYRO as part of an initiative designed to support flagship projects in quantum-based measuring technology that aim to address societal challenges.
Q.ANT announced as Falling Walls Winner
What an honor! The Falling Walls Foundation announced Q.ANT as one of 25 winners in the category of science start-ups of the Falling Walls Venture. Our vision to revolutionize Data Generation and Data Processing using Quantum Technology convinced the international jury. It’s our honor to be selected out of 131 high class submissions from 34 countries.
Our CEO Michael Foertsch will pitch Q.ANT on 7. November live on stage for the Science Breakthrough of the Year 2022 in front of leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society.
What are the next walls to fall in science and society? With this question, the Falling Walls Foundation receives submissions with groundbreaking projects from the worldwide scientific community for this prestigious award. The Falling Walls Foundation is channeling the iconic image of the crumbling Berlin Wall on the night of 9 November 1989 to bring together those who set out to tear down the next walls in science and society.
ACHEMA: Q.ANT optimizes Process Technology with the World’s first Quantum Particle Sensor
At this year’s ACHEMA (Hall 11.0 Booth F50), the start-up Q.ANT is exhibiting the world’s first industrial-grade quantum sensor as a particle sensor. This can simultaneously measure three parameters in real-time. An artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes the measured parameters and classifies the particles according to their shape. This allows optimized and sustainable operation of plants in chemistry and biotechnology.
Stuttgart/Frankfurt, 09.08.22 — At ACHEMA, the leading international trade fair for the process industry, the start-up Q.ANT will showcase the first industry-ready particle sensor based on quantum technology. The sensor generates far more data on the measured particles in different media than currently available measurement methods. This sensor analyzes particles in different gases as well as in liquids or powders. The online integration of the sensor, thus, allows process control in real-time and increases the productivity of the plant as well as the quality of the processed media. The resulting avoidance of faulty production, which goes hand in hand with reduced energy consumption, also makes the particle sensor interesting from a sustainability point of view. With the quantum sensor, continuous processes achieve the flexibility of batch production. Since there is often a risk of explosion during powder processing, Q.ANT is also working on an ATEX version (ATmosphères EXplosibles, explosive atmospheres).
Versatile Quantum Technology
During the measurement, a quantum-modified laser beam shines through the flowing medium and its particles. “As the particle moves through the laser beam, high-frequency scanning generates a characteristic pattern that can be used to simultaneously analyze particle size, position and velocity. The AI then classifies the signals according to our customers’ specifications, as for example particle form”, Andreas Schürzinger, Product Line Manager for the particle sensor at Q.ANT, states.
The AI must first be trained for the respective use case. Parallel to this, Q.ANT is building up a database of use cases in order to be able to draw on information already gained and to shorten the training of the AI. “Interested companies can also rent the particle sensors to test them on their applications and adapt them to their use cases”, Andreas Schürzinger says. For this purpose, Q.ANT offers an evaluation program with training courses and training sessions.
Adaptable Measuring Ranges
The particle sensor can be configured for many different applications, including other measurement methods and measurement mechanisms. Simple web-based software interfaces make it user-friendly.
“For lab environments, repeatable analysis is possible, where data is exported, stored and securely transferred to lab systems or the cloud. A browser is all that is needed for operation here. The device does not require a display or buttons. Analyses can run automatically in the online environment. In the event of changes beyond defined threshold values, there are automated messages, e.g. via MQTT interface, for process control. A cloud connection is also possible here”, Schürzinger says.
The number of possible applications is versatile. Thanks to AI, the sensor remains constantly up-to-date and is adaptable to applications that no one is thinking of today. This makes the particle sensor a real investment in the future. “Our visit to ACHEMA clearly shows how far quantum sensors can already be used industrially. For us at Q.ANT, this is the prelude to a whole series of applications with quantum technologies, which we will bring to market maturity in the next few years”, Q.ANT CEO and Founder Michael Foertsch emphasizes.
Q.ANT is a high-tech startup founded in 2018 as part of the TRUMPF Group. Q.ANT’s vision is to revolutionize the quality of how machines analyze their environment, people notice information, and the way humans think. To this end, Q.ANT develops quantum sensors and quantum computer chips based on its Photonic Quantum Framework.
Achema: The world’s first quantum particle sensor for process technology
Q.ANT presents the world’s first quantum particle sensor for process technology at Achema. At the leading international trade fair for the process industry, Q.ANT will exhibit in Hall 11.0 Booth F50 in the Digital Hub space, with the fair taking place in Frankfurt am Main from August 22 — 26, 2022.
Compared to conventional sensors, the quantum sensor can measure the parameters size, position and speed simultaneously in real time. From this treasure trove of data, an artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes the measured parameters and classifies the particles according to shape. This allows optimized and sustainable operation of plants in the chemical, pharmaceutical, materials and biotechnology industries.
Our Q.ANT experts are looking forward to a constructive exchange and exciting impulses. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are happy to send you an admission ticket voucher to arrange an appointment. Welcome to Q.ANT at Achema!
Talking about Q.ANT…
It’s not always we ourselves that have great stories to share — often enough it’s others talking about Q.ANT. And also this we want to share with you: Have a look what Handelsblatt had to tell about our world’s first industrial quantum particle sensor for the production of perfect coffee. Or KEM reporting on the strategic partnership with Festo on a technology to cultivate sustainable algae und biomass. Optics.org published on PhoQuant, the Q.ANT-led consortium to receive €50 million in research funding to construct a demonstration and test system for quantum computer chips and other quantum computer components. And there was much more out there — and even more to come. Enjoy reading!
CEO Michael Förtsch in the circle of 175 inspiring physicists of the DPG
The “Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft” (German Physical Society) has launched a special campaign for its 175th anniversary year. It presents 175 selected physicists who today or at their time have or have had an inspiring effect on other people or even the whole society through their field of activity, their commitment or their thoughts. Q.ANT CEO Michael Förtsch was included in this special circle.
Michael Förtsch, DPG member since 2008, earned his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen. After working at TRUMPF GmbH, he founded Q.ANT, as start-up of the TRUMPF Group, in 2018 and has been leading it as CEO since then. More about his career, as well as his passions outside of physics, can be found at DPG Physic.
Physics is in everything and everywhere, in the history of the universe, in modern communication technology and medical technology, but also in laser technology and quantum technology. With Q.ANT, Michael Förtsch is setting new standards in the development of quantum computing and quantum sensor technology. With concrete industrial applications, Q.ANT and Michael Förtsch inspire product developers and new business developers in a wide range of industries.
175 years of “Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft” — the DPG looked back on this long and proud history in 2020. What began in 1845 with six young scientists from Gustav Magnus’ colloquium as the “Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin” became the “Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft”, which now has around 60,000 members. In its anniversary year 2020, the DPG has set itself the goal of bringing the fascination for physics closer to the public and the physics community, but also to discuss the opportunities and risks of research and application. This can also be shown in the mirror of 175 years of DPG, which is not only part of the fascinating history of physics, but always also of social and political developments.
Happy Birthday Q.ANT!
Today Q.ANT celebrates its fourth anniversary. On July 1st 2018 Q.ANT, as spin-off of the TRUMPF Group, was founded as a Start-Up with a little number of QANTies, many good ideas, a plan and a small office in Stuttgart STEP.
Today, Q.ANT has developed into a small company: 50 experts are working on the 4 product lines quantum computing, particle sensing, magnetometers and atomic gyroscopes. Headquarters are located in Stuttgart with administration offices, laboratories and production facilities.
Valued as a leading player in the field of quantum technologies, Q.ANT is internationally working together with renowned partners from industry and science as well as with BMBF/Federal Ministry of Education and Research in several projects.
The success Story will continue — Happy Birthday Q.ANT!
Q.ANT on Deutschlandfunk
In a fascinating broadcast for coffee connoisseurs and those interested in technology, editorial journalist Frank Grotelüschen interviews Michael Förtsch and Maria Hohm about quantum sensor technology in the analysis of coffee powder at the Hannover Messe. The answers to questions about the technology and the advantages of the system can be listened to in the 4‑minute program.
Q.ANT particle sensors enable particle sensing and analysis in real-time for direct control of processes. By generating vastly more valuable data about the measured particles, the quantum particle sensor enables the simultaneous measurement of particle size, speed and direction and the AI-based classification of particle shape. Analyzing coffee powder as one of many application possibilities ranging from food all the way to material, chemical and pharmaceutical processing.
Stuttgart Industry Talks with Q.ANT CEO Michael Förtsch
The Industry Talks of the German Physical Society (DPG) invite physicists at the interface of research and industrial application to discuss and exchange experiences. The core of the event are lectures given by renowned industry leaders on current topics related to physics and industry.
Dr. Karsten Vetter from the DPG’s Industry and Business Working Group spoke with Michael Förtsch, CEO of Q.ANT GmbH. With the presentation “Start-Up Photonic Quantum Technologies”, Michael Förtsch discussed the technology, as well as the experience of founding a company and the advantages of a start-up. The focus of his talk was on the development of quantum sensors and quantum computing chips based on the Q.ANT Photonic Quantum Framework.
The full 90-minute conversation in German can be watched here. The Industry Talks, which take place at various locations in Germany, provide forums for physicists to exchange ideas on topics related to physics research, at the connection point of transferring scientific knowledge to applications, and on current industry topics.
World’s first industrial quantum sensors: Q.ANT gears up for live demonstration of quantum sensors
Sensor measurements harness quantum effects to facilitate novel applications in the chemical, semiconductor and mechanical engineering sectors // Quantum technology can be used to simultaneously measure the size, shape and velocity of microparticles
Stuttgart/Hannover, May 25, 2022 — Visitors to Hannover Messe will be treated to live demonstrations of the world’s first industrial-grade quantum sensors by Stuttgart-based start-up Q.ANT, a wholly owned subsidiary of high-tech company TRUMPF. The company will be showcasing particle sensors that are able to measure particles in gases, liquids and powders in ways that cannot be accomplished using current measuring technology. At the technological heart of these sensors are quantum effects in excited light. Generated in targeted ways, these effects can be harnessed to analyze the size, shape and velocity of microparticles in one and the same measurement. In turn, these measurements make it possible to acquire information that will facilitate new applications in the semiconductor, chemical and mechanical engineering industries. A number of companies from these sectors are already putting Q.ANT quantum sensors to the test. At Hannover Messe, Q.ANT will enable visitors to experience two industrial quantum-sensor applications in action for the very first time:
Measuring coffee powder for a food company (Hall 2, Booth A22)
In collaboration with sensor specialist SICK, Q.ANT will be showcasing a quantum sensor that food manufacturers can use to check the quality of coffee. The sensor measures the size and shape of the grain, which is a key factor in determining how each particular coffee will taste. In order to achieve the desired level of quality, the quantum sensor allows coffee producers to continuously monitor the grains during the industrial grinding process. Working together with a major food manufacturer, it has already been possible to make powder measurements. SICK now intends to distribute the sensor worldwide, paving the way for other future applications in the food sector, particularly in the powder processing industry.
Measuring biomass in Festo’s algae reactor (Hall 6)
The control and automation specialist Festo will also be showcasing an application that uses the Q.ANT quantum sensor at Hannover Messe. Festo uses the sensor to obtain precise, real-time information about the growth of organisms inside the reactor. To provide this information, algae are conveyed to the sensor automatically and continuously through special microfluidic components made by Festo, such as pumps that can handle extremely small quantities of liquids with outstanding precision. The quantum sensor is able to optically analyze individual cells in order to precisely determine the amount of biomass. It also checks the cells’ vitality with the help of artificial intelligence. The quantum sensor makes it possible to respond proactively to process events and take steps to regulate them in order to promote faster algae growth.
Algae have an extremely high photosynthetic efficiency in their natural environment, binding ten times more carbon dioxide (CO2) than land plants. When algae are grown in bioreactors equipped with appropriate sensors, control technology and automation, this efficiency can be increased even further, reaching a hundredfold that of land plants. The substances created in this process can be used as raw materials for pharmaceuticals, packaging and cosmetics and, ultimately, recycled in ways that create a climate-neutral system.
Q.ANT: a leader in the field of quantum computer chips
Q.ANT is one of Germany’s leading companies in the field of quantum- technology-based industrial products. Only a few months have passed since the Stuttgart-based start-up presented its novel photonic chip process. Within the space of the next few years, this new process will allow today’s established electronic mainframe computers to be equipped with cutting-edge quantum- technology processors. In March 2022, Q.ANT took the helm of a consortium that has the task of building a demonstration and test system for photonic quantum-computer chips. The consortium has an initial budget of 50 million euros, some 42 million euros of which will come from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
TRUMPF is a high-tech company offering manufacturing solutions in the fields of machine tools and laser technology. The Company drives digital connectivity in the manufacturing through consulting, platform products and software. TRUMPF is a technology and market leader in highly versatile machine tools for sheet metal processing and in the field of industrial lasers. In 2020/21, the company employed some 14,800 people and generated sales of about 3.5 billion euros. With over 80 subsidiaries, the TRUMPF Group is represented in nearly every European country as well as in North America, South America and Asia. The company has production facilities in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United States, Mexico and China.
Find out more about TRUMPF at http://www.trumpf.de.
Founded in 2018, Q.ANT is a high-tech startup and part of the TRUMPF Group. Q.ANT’s vision is to improve the quality of how machines analyze their environment, how humans process information, and how we think. To achieve this goal, Q.ANT develops quantum sensors and quantum computing chips based on its Quantum Photonic Framework.