SBQuantum, the first company developing diamond quantum magnetometers capable of providing vector measurements of both the amplitude and the orientation of Earth's magnetic field, today announces it has been selected as a participant in the final phases of the MagQuest Challenge, along with its partner, Spire Global.
Image Credit: SB Quantum
Led by the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, MagQuest is a multi-million dollar competition to find more accurate and efficient ways to map the earth’s electromagnetic field, also known as the World Magnetic Model (WMM). Aircraft, ships, cars and trucks, along with billions of smartphone users rely on the WMM every day for navigational purposes. However, as shifts in the Earth’s magnetic field continue to accelerate, the WMM must be monitored more closely, and updated more often to ensure the model’s accuracy, while keeping people and goods flowing safely.
“It is an honor for us to be invited to participate in the final phase of this prestigious competition. We see this as a validation of our years of unwavering work in developing our diamond-powered quantum magnetometer and compensation algorithms,” said David Roy-Guay, CEO and Co-Founder of SBQuantum. “Testing the instrument in space represents a fantastic opportunity to show the entire industry what we have built, and to highlight the tremendous potential of quantum-enabled sensors not only for aerospace, but for various other industry verticals as well.”
The MagQuest Challenge resumes this month for its final phase, which includes testing of the 3 remaining solutions. SBQuantum’s offering combines its diamond-powered quantum magnetometer with a suite of reference sensors to train a machine learning algorithm, which compensates for magnetic field interference. The solution is designed to provide more accurate measurements of the WMM, with increased frequency than existing spaceborne applications. Furthermore, pre-test analysis indicates that the SBQuantum magnetometer will potentially provide stable and accurate readings for the WMM in excess of 10-times longer than today’s sensors.
“The MagQuest challenge is a prime example of how satellite technology plays a crucial role in powering technology and systems that each and every one of us use on a near-daily basis,” said Chuck Cash, Vice President of Federal Sales at Spire. “We’re proud to leverage Spire’s expertise in satellite technology and existing infrastructure for manufacturing, ground stations, and data processing with SBQuantum’s magnetometer technology to provide a novel and more accurate solution to collect geomagnetic data.”
SBQuantum’s diamond magnetometer leverages quantum properties to reduce drifts such as those induced by temperature constraints which can distort readings from today’s classical technologies. The diamond crystal contains four sensing axes in a very small volume at the atomic scale, and the amplitude and direction of its magnetic field measurements provides high accuracy with no blind spots. The device’s use of quantum effects also provides a greater accuracy than existing technologies. By applying a green laser and microwaves to the diamond, a red glow is generated which translates directly to the magnetic field vector measurements at the basis of the WMM.
The final phase of the MagQuest Challenge runs from September 2023, with a launch of all the finalists’ solutions into space for testing purposes, planned for mid-2025.