Quantum Metrology and Sensing

Definition and key issues

The measurement of a physical quantity cannot be infinitely precise. The theoretical limit on the precision of measurements is dictated by quantum mechanics, and this limit often stems from quantum fluctuations. This is called the standard quantum limit. Realizing a sensor that is only limited by fundamental noise is already a reality for some physical quantities such as microwave or optical light. Thanks to the latest advances in nano-fabrication and experimental techniques, the development of new strategies to go beyond this limit are in full swing. For example, VIRGO and LIGO, the two most sensitive gravitational interferometers ever created, exceed the resolution set by the standard quantum limit thanks to the use of a light beam prepared in a particular quantum state, called "squeezed state". The term "quantum sensor" is used to designate a device or measurement method that approaches or exceeds the standard quantum limit.

Image Julien Claudon

Our Strengths 

82 Grenoble researchers have expressed a desire to contribute to the "quantum sensors" project. Of these, 43 belong to the Quantum Engineering axis, 42 to the Key Enable Technologies axis and as many to the Quantum Matter axis, 16 to Quantum Information and 6 to the Humanities. This census shows that the federation can be a very high-level player in the pursuit of these objectives, in a highly competitive context on a global scale. We have state-of-the-art expertise in the measurement of mechanical motion in the quantum regime, in THz field measurement strategies, in the measurement and manipulation of photons (visible and microwave) and electrons in the quantum regime, and in magnetic field measurement.

Our goals

  • QuantAlps will contribute to the development of new generations of quantum sensors based on condensed matter platforms. The physical quantities typically concerned are time (e.g. frequency), position, mechanical motion (phonons, mechanical vibrations), gravity, current, magnetic field, spin, electromagnetic field (wavelength, polarization).
  • We will perform ultra-sensitive measurements approaching or exceeding the standard quantum limit, propose protocols for measurements in the quantum regime, identify physical phenomena that can be used for quantum measurement.
  • New highly relevant properties and strategies are explored such as thermodynamics of quantum measurement, topology resources, or quantum fluid based detectors.
  • These activities will be supported by state-of-the-art technological know-how: state-of-the-art microelectronics and cryogenics, and microscopy, nanofabrication and magnetometry techniques.
Published on  September 6, 2021
Updated on May 23, 2023