Bosch establishes start-up for quantum sensing

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Bosch is setting up a new business unit to commercialise quantum sensors. Located in Germany initially, it will look to pool the results of research so far and translate them into products.

Bosch said that with this new business unit it wants to open up quantum technology for its own strategic purposes. Quantum sensors will, for example, be able to help diagnose neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s more accurately and easily. They can also be used to record nerve impulses, and thus to control artificial limbs one day. These sensors can also detect the tiniest changes in an object’s position.

Jens Fabrowsky, the executive vice-president of Bosch Automotive Electronics responsible for the semiconductor business, said: “Quantum technology is pushing the boundaries of what is possible – in both data processing and sensors. Above all, the aim is to increase the broad practical benefit of quantum effects – for everything from the development of carbon-neutral powertrains to neurological diagnosis. Bosch has been doing extensive research in quantum sensing for many years now, and we see ourselves as global leaders in this area. Now we also want to use this as a basis for future business models.”

The CEO of the newly established start-up is Dr. Katrin Kobe, who brings to the position many years of management experience with a variety of technology companies. “At Bosch, research is a top priority,” she said. “As a global company with alliances and expertise in quantum technology, Bosch is seizing the opportunity to make headway with this promising new field in an agile start-up environment.”

There are already 15 associates working at the new start-up in Germany which is set to grow to more than 20 in the coming months, as it looks to attract engineers and business developers in particular.

Quantum sensors use the individual atoms of a gas or defects in solids as atomic measuring instruments. Because of the special way they are initialised before measurement and their ability to detect individual quantum states after measurement, these sensors are able to achieve unprecedented levels of precision.

Thanks to quantum technology, this will soon allow measurements to be carried out that are nearly 1,000 times more precise than those done by today’s MEMS sensors (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System).

Bosch has built fully functional and powerful demonstrators of a quantum magnetometer and a quantum gyrometer. Quantum magnetometers can, for example, be used to detect the tiny magnetic fields generated by physiological processes, while quantum gyrometers permit the high-precision detection of rotations for the navigation of autonomous systems. The long-term goal is to achieve further miniaturisation and integrate the technology on a chip.

Bosch has been actively involved in eight publicly funded quantum sensing projects, some of them international, since 2018.

The new business unit will be located on the premises of its grow platform GmbH subsidiary in Ludwigsburg, Germany from the beginning of the year. Organisationally, the start-up will be assigned to the Bosch Automotive Electronics division, based in Reutlingen.