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Atomic gas sensing of ultralow magnetic fields and its applications

Kolloquium der Abteilung 8

Recent interest in quantum technologies is based on the possibility (in principle) of enhanced performance of devices relying on the core principles of quantum physics. While early demonstrations have boosted longer-term hopes and expectations in complex applications in quantum computing and communication networks, short-term 'real-world’ benefits have begun to emerge already today in the area of quantum sensing. 

In this talk, we will discuss magnetic field sensing as an example of a particularly promising field, in which the advantages of the use of quantum systems have been sufficiently clear to trigger interest (and investment) in further practical, commercial and even industrial development. We will focus on atomic gas systems and illustrate how very high field sensitivities in the attotesla (per root hertz) range can be achieved in the laboratory, translating into the femtotesla range for practical devices and even early commercial prototypes. Current efforts are centered around improved robustness, scalability, and modularity of the sensors as well as on bandwidth and spatial resolution of emerging magnetic field imaging arrays. Different sensing schemes based on atomic vapours and on trapped ultracold gases are explored at different development stages. We will give examples of the diverse range of applications, including material science for the development of indium-tin-oxide alternatives, electric vehicle battery fabrication and quality control, and biomedical imaging.