(Phys.org) A team of scientists at the University of Sussex have for the first time built a modular quantum brain scanner, and used it to record a brain signal. This is the first time a brain signal has been detected using a modular quantum brain sensor anywhere in the world. It’s a major milestone for all researchers working on quantum brain imaging technology because modular sensors can be scaled up, like Lego bricks.
The device, which was built at the Quantum Systems and Devices laboratory at the university, uses ultra-sensitive quantum sensors to pick up these tiniest of magnetic fields to see inside the brain in order to map the neural activity.
The team applied the sensors to outside of a participant’s scalp, close to the visual cortex of the brain. They asked the participant to open and close their eyes at 10–20 second intervals, and were able to detect a signal. This is a very simple action, but to see it happening inside the brain—from the outside—requires hugely sophisticated quantum technology.
Professor Kai Bongs, Principal Investigator at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, said:
“We are delighted with this ground-breaking development by Hub researchers at the University of Sussex. These successes are helping considerably to advance the UK quantum ecosystem, bringing us a step closer to exploiting quantum sensor technology in clinical applications that will have real societal impact. Building a strong quantum brain imaging capability in the UK is a great example of our collaboration.”