A tiny quantum sensor made of diamond – The Fraunhofer IAF convinced the jury in the category »From Knowledge to Health« with their innovation and became one of the 100 »Landmarks in the Land of Ideas« 2018. The annual award represents inspiration, openness and bold actions and is awarded to innovative solutions to social issues.
The competition runs under the theme »Connecting Worlds – Strengthening Unity« and exhibits projects that serve as a role model. The focus lies on skills, such as eagerness to experiment, curiosity and courage to rethink. Among 1500 entries, the Fraunhofer IAF convinced and fascinated the experts with their project »tiny quantum sensors for innovative measurement procedures«.
From the tiny world of quanta to everyday use
With their »quantum sensor«, the Fraunhofer IAF connects the microscopic world of smallest particles with everyday applications. It can be used in a wide range of scenarios, including medicine. With its help, it becomes possible to measure brainwaves with high resolution, operating at room temperature. An artificial diamond is the foundation of the innovation: Through the insertion of a single electron, a so-called »nitrogen vacancy«, its extremely fine tip is turned into a tiny magnet.
This enables the detection of even the smallest voltages in its environment. The sensibility of the nanometer sized sensor makes it a unique measurement tool that is not limited to medical use only. Considering the ever accelerating miniaturization of electric components, the need of likewise sized test equipment arises. The tiny sensor is especially well suited for measuring electronic circuits. For example, the quantum sensor can be used to keep track of hard drive quality by identifying and ascertaining smallest magnetic fields. Furthermore, the sensor enables the definition of nanoelectric circuits in an unprecedented spatial resolution.
Unity as benefit for everyone
The diversity of the projects became apparent at the award ceremony. The focus of the award was the interconnection of opposed worlds. Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), praised the recipients: »By their innovative ideas, the award winners connect worlds – young with old, strong with weak, urban with rural, social projects with high-tech. They all prove that it is a benefit for everyone, when bold ideas get supported and shared. Their 100 innovations make society a bit better.« Harald Eisenach, speaker of the regional management east and head of the corporate clients area east of the Deutsche Bank, highlights in regard of the future: »The awarded ideas impressively prove: We are an innovative country and we stand together, in spite of all the challenges that need to be overcome.«
About the award
»Germany – Land of ideas« is a joint business location initiative of the federal government and the German economy, represented by the BDI. Together with the Deutsche Bank as a partner and national sponsor, the competition »Landmarks in the Land of Ideas« is organized annually and takes place since 13 years. The aim is to enhance Germany’s national and international visibility as a hub of innovations, and to improve the economic potential and sustainability of the location. The submitted projects were evaluated according to their forward-looking approach, their innovative power and their exemplary effect.
Laura Hau | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF
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