Quantum Sensors Markets, 2018 And Beyond

Report #IQT-QS-0119
Published January 14, 2019

Quantum sensors are a class of sensors that offer a particularly high level of sensitivity based on certain quantum phenomena, such as quantum de-coherence and quantum entanglement.  Some of these devices – such as PAR sensors – represent relatively mature technology. Others – gravity sensors and quantum LiDAR – are only beginning to make an impact.  IQT Research believes, however, that all quantum sensor technology has strong commercial prospects ahead of it and that the business will benefit increasing levels of government and VC funding for quantum technology in general.  There is also emerging technology – such as quantum photonics – that will lead to new kinds of  sensor products being developed in the near future.

In this report:

IQT Research forecasts future technology evolution in the quantum sensors business and considers it from both the perspective of the conventional sensor industry and the budding quantum computing sector. Quantum sensors considered in this report include atomic clocks, single-photon detectors, PAR sensors, quantum LiDAR and quantum radar, gravity sensors, atomic interferometers, magnetometers, quantum imaging devices, spin-qubit-based sensors, and quantum rotation sensors.  We also take a look at materials used for quantum sensors, especially diamond and graphene

We identify the primary opportunities in the quantum sensor space, exploring the commercial future of the technology and the firms that are supplying it. While these firms include many pure play sensor firms, IQT Research also notes that some industry giants have taken a stake in the sector including Bosch, Honeywell, HP, Microsemi, ST Microelectronics and Texas Instruments.

We examine in which end-user markets there will be the most significant opportunities including:

  • Transportation (Autonomous vehicles, navigation, GPS and air traffic control
  • Agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture
  • Networked industries (telecom and smart grids)
  • Construction and surveying
  • Financial trading
  • Medical imaging
  • Defense and aerospace
  • Research and development

This report also explores how quantum sensors will fit into the Internet-of-Things

IQT Research provides highly granular ten-year market forecasts in this report in both revenue and (where possible) volume shipment terms.  Each type of quantum sensor is forecast with a breakout by application, and each end-user sector is forecast by the type of quantum sensors being used.  The report also includes a breakout of the market for quantum sensors by the geographical regions in which they are located.

This report is part of a new series of IQT Research reports covering the commercial opportunities in the emerging markets for quantum computing products.  Previous reports in this space include industry analysis studies on quantum key encryption, Quantum Networks and quantum computing.

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Table of Contents


  • Executive Summary 

  • E.1 Quantum Sensor Evolution:  Three Generations and an Arms Race

  • E.1.1 Sensors and the Quantum Arms Race

  • E.1.2 Quantum Sensors:  Mature and Novel

  • E.2 Emerging Demand for Quantum Sensors:  Five Key Opportunities

  • E.2.1 Defense and Aerospace Markets for Quantum Sensors: Quantum Radar and Quantum Gravity Sensors

  • E.2.2 Opportunities for Next-Generation Atomic Clocks

  • E.2.3 Quantum Sensors in Construction and the Oil and Gas Industry

  • E.2.4 Medical Opportunities for Quantum Sensors

  • E.2.5 Agriculture, Horticulture and Aquaculture

  • E.2.6 Possible Future Markets for Quantum Sensors: Autonomous Vehicles and the Internet-of-Things

  • E.3 Market Potential for Quantum Sensors: Ten-year Forecasts

  • E.3.1 Summary of Ten-year Quantum Sensor Markets by Type of Sensor

  • E.3.2 Summary of Ten-year Quantum Sensor Markets by Type of End User/Application

  • E.3.3 Summary of Ten-year Quantum Sensor Revenues by Geography

  • E.4  Five Companies that will Shape the Future of the Quantum Sensor Business:  Some Speculations

  • Chapter One: Introduction         

  • 1.1 Background to this Report:  Why Quantum Sensors Present a New Business Opportunity

  • 1.1.1 Two Ways to Consider Quantum Sensor Opportunities:  “Quantum” and “Sensors”

  • 1.1.2 Quantum Sensors May be a Relatively Low-Risk Path for Quantum Technology Investment

  • 1.1.3 The Demand for Quantum Sensors Seems to be Real

  • 1.2 Objective and Scope of this Report

  • 1.3 Methodology of this Report

  • 1.4 Plan of this Report

  • Chapter Two: Products and Technology Evolution

  • 2.1 Sensor Industry Trends Also Drive the Quantum Sensors Market

  • 2.2 Atomic Clocks as Quantum Sensor Products

  • 2.2.1 Technology Trends and Ten-year Forecasts for Atomic Clocks

  • 2.2.2 Cesium Clocks and their Impact on International Weights and Measures

  • 2.2.3 Rubidium Clocks:  Opening the Way to New Markets?         20

  • 2.2.4 Chip-scale Atomic Clocks (CSACs):  The Miniaturization of Atomic Clocks

  • 2.2.5 Quantum Clocks and Optical Lattice Clocks

  • 2.2.6 Analysis of Supply Structure for Atomic Clocks:  ADVA, Microsemi, and the Others

  • 2.3 Quantum Light Detectors

  • 2.3.1 Ten-year Forecast of Quantum Light Detectors

  • 2.3.2 Single-Photon Detectors

  • 2.3.3 PAR Sensors

  • 2.4 Quantum Magnetometers

  • 2.4.1 Ten-year Market Forecast of Revenues from Quantum Magnetometers

  • 2.4.2 SQUIDs

  • 2.4.3 SERF Magnetometers

  • 2.4.4 NV-center Magnetometers

  • 2.4.5 Proton Precession Magnetometers and Overhauser Magnetometers

  • 2.4.6 Vapor Cell (Optically Pumped)  Magnetometers

  • 2.4.7 Chip-Scale Atomic Magnetometers

  • 2.5 Quantum Gravimeters

  • 2.5.1 Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Gravimeters

  • 2.5.2 Price Declines and New Markets Possible

  • 2.5.3 Companies and Groups Working on Quantum Gravimeters

  • 2.6 Quantum LiDAR and Quantum Radar

  • 2.6.1 Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Radar and Quantum LiDAR

  • 2.6.2 Quantum Radar

  • 2.6.3 Quantum LiDAR

  • 2.7  The Impact of Emerging Technologies on Quantum Sensor Markets

  • 2.7.1 The Impact of Quantum Technology on Mechanical Sensors

  • 2.7.2 Quantum Photonics  for Quantum Sensors

  • 2.7.3 Atoms as  Quantum Sensors

  • 2.7.4 Quantum Sensors and Spintronics

  • 2.7.5 Prospects for Quantum Electron Microscopy

  • 2.8 New Materials for Quantum Sensors

  • 2.8.1 Diamonds and Nano-diamonds

  • 2.8.2 Graphene

  • 2.8.3 Silicon Carbide

  • 2.9 Key Points from this Chapter

  • Chapter Three: Applications and Ten-year Forecasts     

  • 3.1 Transportation Markets:  Applications in Autonomous Vehicles and Global Positioning

  • 3.1.1 Quantum Sensors in the Automotive industry

  • 3.1.2 The Role of Quantum LiDAR in Autonomous Vehicles:  Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.1.3 Global Positioning Systems:  Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.1.4 Atomic Clocks for Air Traffic Control and Airports:  Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.1.5 Quantum Gravity Sensors in Transportation Markets

  • 3.2 Agriculture, Horticulture and Aquaculture

  • 3.2.1 The market for PAR Sensors in Agriculture and Related Markets:  Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.3 Networking Markets and the Need for Atomic Clocks

  • 3.3.1 Public Telecommunications Networks – Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.3.2 Electricity Industry:  Smart Grids – Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.4 Atomic Clocks in Financial Trading:  Timestamping Trades

  • 3.4.1 Ten-year Forecasts for Atomic Clocks in Financial Trading

  • 3.5 Markets for Quantum Sensors in Construction, Surveying, Oil and Gas:  An Immediate Use for Quantum Gravity and Imaging Sensors

  • 3.5.1 Oil and Gas Markets for Quantum Sensors:  Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.5.2 Construction Markets for Gravity Sensors:  Ten-year Forecasts

  • 3.6 Medical and Healthcare

  • 3.6.1 Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensors in Medical and Healthcare

  • 3.6.2 Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

  • 3.6.3 Other Applications for SQUIDs in Medicine and Healthcare

  • 3.6.4 Quantum Tomography

  • 3.6.5 Use of Quantum Radar in Healthcare

  • 3.6.6 Role of NV-center Magnetometers in Medicine

  • 3.6.7 Quantum Sensors and Medical Wearables:  Ten-year Forecast

  • 3.9 Defense and Aerospace Markets for Quantum Sensors

  • 3.9.1 Quantum Technology in the PRC

  • 3.9.2 Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensors in Defense

  • 3.9.3 Quantum Navigation and the Military

  • 3.9.4 Quantum Radar/LiDAR and other Quantum Imaging Systems

  • 3.9.5 Quantum Magnetometers and Gravimeters for Weapons Detection

  • 3.9.6 Quantum Detectors for Quantum Key Distribution

  • 3.10 Markets for Quantum Sensors in Scientific Research and R&D

  • 3.10.1 Quantum Information Science and Quantum Technology

  • 3.10.2 Astronomy and Astrophysics

  • 3.10.3 Geology and Material Science

  • 3.10.4 Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensors in Scientific Research

  • 3.11 Coda: Quantum Sensors and the Internet-of-Things

  • 3.11.1 Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensors in the Internet-of-Things

  • 3.11.2 Applications for Quantum Sensors in the Internet-of-Things

  • 3.12 Key Points made in this Chapter

  • List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit E-1: Three Generations of Quantum Sensors

  • Exhibit E-2: Summary of Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets, by Type of Sensor ($ Millions)

  • Exhibit E-3: Summary of Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets, by Type of End User Market

  • Exhibit E-4: Summary of Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets, by Geography

  • Exhibit E-5: Six Companies to Watch the Quantum Sensor Market:  Some Speculations

  • Exhibit 1-1: Seven Reasons Why Quantum Sensors are an Emerging Business Opportunity

  • Exhibit 2-1: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Atomic Clocks

  • Exhibit 2-2: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Quantum Light Detectors

  • Exhibit 2-3: Types of Quantum Magnetometers:  Appropriate Applications

  • Exhibit 2-4: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Quantum Magnetometers

  • Exhibit 2-5: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Quantum Gravimeters

  • Exhibit 2-6: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Quantum Radar and Quantum LiDAR

  • Exhibit 3-1: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum LiDAR in Autonomous Vehicles

  • Exhibit 3-2: Ten-year Forecasts of Atomic Clocks in GPS Systems

  • Exhibit 3-3: Ten-year Forecasts of Atomic Clocks in Airports and Air Traffic Control

  • Exhibit 3-4: Ten-year Forecasts of Gravity Sensors in Transportation

  • Exhibit 3-5: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Agriculture, Horticulture Aquaculture

  • Exhibit 3-6: Synchronization Standards for Telecom Networks

  • Exhibit 3-7: Ten-year Forecasts of Atomic Clocks in Public Telecom Networks

  • Exhibit 3-8: Ten-year Forecasts of Atomic Clocks in Public Telecom Networks

  • Exhibit 3-9: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Financial Trading

  • Exhibit 3-10: Applications for Quantum Sensors in Construction, Surveying and the Oil and Gas Industry

  • Exhibit 3-11: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Oil and Gas

  • Exhibit 3-12: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Construction

  • Exhibit 3-13: Use of Quantum Sensors in Healthcare

  • Exhibit 3-14: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Medical Imaging

  • Exhibit 3-15: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Medical Wearables

  • Exhibit 3-16: Quantum Sensors in the Military

  • Exhibit 3-17: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Defense

  • Exhibit 3-18: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  Science

  • Exhibit 3-19: Ten-year Forecasts of Quantum Sensor Markets:  IoT


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