Q-CTRL sets up software-defined quantum sensing division

Q-CTRL sets up software-defined quantum sensing division

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Australian quantum technology firm Q-CTRL is setting up a dedicated sensing division to meet $60m of recent contracts.

This makes the sensing division one of the largest in the world using a new generation of ultrasensitive software-defined quantum sensors for use in measuring gravity, motion and magnetic fields. 

Q-CTRL has raised over $43m and combines quantum system design with new approaches to software, AI automation, and signal processing. The new devices can have real-world impact in defence, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), minerals exploration, magnetic anomaly detection, persistent earth observation for climate monitoring, long-term weather forecasting and space exploration. 

Recent projects include one with Advanced Navigation on hybrid classical-quantum inertial navigation, and both Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) and CRC-P contracts developing space-qualified quantum sensors. In addition, Q-CTRL is a partner in the Australian Space Park project with Fleet Space Technologies, ATSpace and Alauda Aeronautics supporting a space manufacturing hub in Adelaide, South Australia, which is scheduled to open in 2025.

The Division is led by Dr. Russell Anderson, who left his academic professorial position to become Q-CTRL’s Head of Quantum Sensing. The team has attracted global experts from Australia, the UK and Europe with specialized experience and world-leading track records in building ultrasensitive atomic devices, using quantum control to augment the performance of quantum sensors, and building detailed quantum digital twins for hardware to simulate end-to-end performance in real environments.

“Q-CTRL’s mission is to make quantum technology useful. From day one we knew that quantum sensing provided a near-term opportunity to translate our specialization in quantum control into value capture and new sovereign capabilities,” said Michael Biercuk, CEO and founder of Q-CTRL. 

This year, the Q-CTRL sensing team will demonstrate ways to detect sources of electromagnetic radiation emitted by an enemy communications or command-and-control system using its own software-defined atomic magnetometers. 

The augmentation of hardware with quantum control software enables the Q-CTRL team to deploy quantum sensors in the field without performance degradation and to detect key target signatures without being overwhelmed by background signals. The underlying technology is based on Q-CTRL’s error correction technology that improves the performance of commercial quantum computers.

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