Editorial Feature

An Industrial Grade Quantum Sensor for Particle Analysis

The industrial manufacturing sector has started to benefit from the emergence of quantum technology. Recent advancements in quantum sensing have been applied to particle size analysis for real-time process optimization.

quantum sensors, what are quantum sensors, industrial grade quantum sensors, quantum sensors for particle analysis

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For quality control purposes, the majority of industrial manufacturing processes rely on precise knowledge of product particle sizes. Free-flowing material is subjected to a method called particle size analysis. The sample's particle size and shape are customarily determined by meticulous analysis procedures. Extensive particle analysis is undertaken by companies who wish to make sure that the manufactured goods fulfill the requirements for consistency and quality.

Examples Where Particle Size Analysis is Used

Particle size is used by the pharmaceutical industry to regulate how quickly drugs dissolve and spread throughout the body. Patient damage can result from failing to understand and manage the particle size of any particular medication.

Particle analysis is utilized in industrial plastic extrusion to establish the batch size of the material. The temperature at which the plastic needs to be heated to enable sufficient throughput is also determined by batch size information. Product recalls and early product failure can result from the improper implementation of reliable particle analysis.

Accurate particle size determination is crucial to the fracking sector. Vacuum pressure may be distributed unevenly if the mixture of particle sizes is too diverse.

Quantum Technology

Quantum technology is the development of devices that function fully or partially based on the principles of quantum mechanics. The behavior and characteristics of a quantum system are defined by quantum mechanics. For instance, a quantum object's energy levels are quantized. Energy levels of atoms or molecules can be electronic, magnetic, or vibrational, or spin states in superconductors.

Quantum coherence is another property of quantum mechanics. This explains how quantum states can sustain their wave-like superposition across time while withstanding interference from the outside world.

quantum sensors, what are quantum sensors, industrial grade quantum sensors, quantum sensors for particle analysis

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Another quantum mechanical characteristic that characterizes a quantum item is quantum entanglement. When two or more particles get entangled, they acquire identical quantum properties independent of their distance from one another.

Quantum Sensing

A quantum sensor is a sensor that employs the ideas of quantum physics to find minute variations in electromagnetic fields and motion. Quantum sensors are predicted to reach incredibly fine levels of precision by making use of the energy levels in atoms.

When a quantum mechanical property is utilized to detect a physical quantity, quantum sensing is accomplished. Any of the aforementioned quantum characteristics can be used for detection. Quantum coherence, quantum entanglement, or quantum states can all be used to monitor changes in a physical quantity precisely.

Quantum Sensors for Particle Analysis

Particle size analysis in real-time is made possible with emerging quantum sensor technology. Q.ANT, one of the many companies pursuing the development of quantum sensors, has introduced a device that is focused on providing complete control over particle size analysis and processes.

Benefits from particle measurement productivity have increased when quantum sensors are used. Q.ANT’s device is based on a quantum photonic framework. The particle sensor produces far more useful information about the observed particles than traditional methods. As a result, information on typical particle size distribution graphs and extra AI-based particle information, such as the particle shape, can be obtained.

The new quantum sensor proposes to increase productivity by shortening the interval between measurements. The faster operation enables real-time processes and lowers waste with shorter control cycles. Wrongly changed production parameters can also be avoided because changes in parameters can be quickly tested in real time.

Technical Details of the Quantum Sensor

The Q.ANT quantum sensor is a contactless sensor that operates optically. A very precisely structured laser beam is directed through a flowing media containing the particles. Gas or liquid is used as the media.

Laser light is applied with polarization in various directions in superposition. As opposed to using traditional optical sensors, this quantum mechanical feature can produce far more data. The superimposed, polarized states are partially obscured by the particles passing across the beam. The sensor can then accurately determine the particle's position within the beam. High-frequency sampling enables the creation of a distinctive pattern that can be compared to simultaneously examine the direction of motion, particle size, and velocity while the particle is traveling through the beam.

The signals are categorized using additional AI-based signal evaluation. The AI categorization can be customized to particular needs and take into account the signal characteristics of the particle shape.

The Q.ANT quantum particle sensor is derived from a quantum photonic framework. The proprietary technology is highlighted by three specific areas of expertise.

First, solid-state laser diodes and stable low-noise current drivers are used to convert electrons into photons. The photons interact with the surroundings in a subsequent stage, and specialized optical components are integrated within the device for optimal performance.

Using photo-detectors, extremely low-noise amplifiers, and quick signal processing, photons are finally transformed back into electrons. This ensures highly efficient conversion from analog to digital processing.

Outlook

Quantum technology is positioned to drive transformative change in many industrial processes. Technology such as quantum sensing for particle size analysis developed by Q.ANT Is suitable for particles in gasses and liquids. The extended benefits include AI-based particle shape classification, real-time measurement for direct process control, simultaneous measurement of multiple parameters like particle size, speed, and direction of movement, insensitivity to harsh and polluted environments, customizable process interface for online integration, and devoted software APIs based on open standards.

On a broader scale, technology based on quantum mechanics is transforming the way people notice information, how robots analyze the environment, and how people think using innovative photonics solutions.

More from AZoQuantum: Which Industries will Quantum Technology Impact Most?

References and Further Reading

C. L. Degen, F. Reinhard, and P. Cappellaro, Quantum sensing, Rev. Mod. Phys. 89, 035002 – Published 25 July 2017 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.89.035002

Q.ANT. Quantum technologies are the innovation driver of the 21st century. [Online] Qant.de. Available at: https://qant.de/en/technology/

Ondrey, G. (September 1, 2022) This particle sensor exploits quantum effects for real-time process optimization. [Online] Chemengonline.com. Available at: https://www.chemengonline.com/particle-sensor/?printmode=

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Written by

Ilamaran Sivarajah

Ilamaran Sivarajah is an experimental atomic/molecular/optical physicist by training who works at the interface of quantum technology and business development.

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