We asked Dr. Mathieu Munsch and Prof. Patrick Maletinsky a few questions about their recently founded startup Qnami.

Image courtesy of Qnami

  • Please tell us about your company and how it relates to Nanoscale quantum optics.

Qnami aims to push the limit of magnetic imaging down to the nanoscale. Applications are endless and range from failure analysis of electronic systems to life science, where an understanding of the intra-cell mechanisms is key to early diagnostic. In order to go beyond the standard techniques for magnetic imaging, Qnami uses a radically new tool: a nanoscale quantum sensor carved out of diamond. With this technique, we record images with an unprecedented resolution in the nanometer range. Importantly, the result is obtained with a compact tabletop system that can be operated by a single user. The approach is totally non-invasive and bio-compatible. Specifically, the core of our product is an all-diamond nanophotonic structure, which contains a quantum coherent spin for sensing. Nanoscale engineering is our key enabler to reach the highest sensitivities (i.e. record-high photon collection efficiencies for the single quantum emitter we use for sensing), while tools from quantum optics, such as coherent quantum state manipulation, are employed depending on the sensing modalities. With this, QNAMI and our product lie right at the heart of the activities pursued by the COST action Nanoscale Quantum Optics.

  • What industrial perspective do you see for your quantum technology (and quantum technologies in general) in the next few years?

Quantum technologies will disrupt a number of industrial markets in the coming decades. The most prominent example is the quantum computer, whose impact on society still defies imagination. Nevertheless, although large companies invest significant money and effort, a first effective product is not for tomorrow. Instead, Qnami chose to focus on mature ideas, thus providing immediate solutions to existing problems. Our business addresses a demand for characterization tools with exceptional sensitivity and resolution. On the one hand, the desire for high speed, low consumption devices is driving a massive scaling down in the electronics industry. On the other hand the possibility to detect weak signals represent a fantastic opportunity in medicine or security. Quantum sensing represents an alternative to standard approaches to address those problems. In fact quantum sensors are already used for example for geo-positioning or brain imaging. We believe this is just the beginning of the story.

  • How do you think the Nanoscale Quantum Optics COST Action can help your company, and how industries can contribute to the Action?

Quantum engineering is still at its beginning. For the public and potential customers, this means the concepts are new and the benefits unclear. For the growing start-ups, this means no easy access to a pool of quantum specialist to recruit. And for the entrepreneurs and investors, this means little networks where to exchange ideas, demonstrate progress and establish new partnerships. We believe the COST Action can help in these various aspects by bringing together the relevant industry and universities and through promotion of quantum engineering to politicians and investors.