Quantum Magnetometry

The resolution and the sensitivity of today’s magnetometers is insufficient for many future applications. The goal of the Fraunhofer consortium »QMag« is to further develop magnetometers and to test them for applications. Two different magnetometer principles based on quantum technology concepts will be used:

On the one hand, nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond will be used, which function as the smallest scanning magnets in an imaging scanning probe magnetometer. This turns a single atomic system into a highly sensitive sensor that can already be operated at room temperature. On the other hand, an alternative measuring method is used that exploits the magnetic field dependence of the optical properties of alkali atoms (»optically pumped alkali magnetometers«, OPM).

Based on prototypes of such magnetometers, application-specific, cost-effective, complete measuring systems are to be developed. The two measuring methods are complementary with regard to highest spatial resolution and extreme sensitivity, so that different new applications can be developed as a result. With such novel quantum magnetometers, micro- and nanoelectronic components, for example, can be non-destructively tested and then optimized. Even individual bits in storage media could be visualized. In addition, we want to test and establish process nuclear magnetic resonance for chemical process analysis as well as scattered magnetic field measurement for contactless material testing.



QMag - Quantum Magnetometry  


Fraunhofer Lighthouse project


April 2019  December 2023  


  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
  • State of Baden-Wuerttemberg

in equal shares



€ 10 million    


Development of two complementary quantum magnetometers to measure smallest magnetic fields with high resolution and high sensitivity at room temperature  


Fraunhofer IAF

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF coordinates the project.

It develops an imaging scanning probe magnetometer based on NV centers in diamond, which measures magnetic fields with highest spatial resolution at room temperature. This enables precise measurements in micro- and nanoelectronics.

Fraunhofer IPM

The Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM is responsible for an OPM measurement system that enables measurements with the highest resolution and opens up new applications, especially in the field of contact-free material testing or chemical process analysis.

Fraunhofer IWM

The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM uses quantum mechanical methods to calculate influences of magnetic fields on electron spins of defect-complexes in diamond crystals. The quantum magnetometers, realized in QMAG, are based on these findings.

Fraunhofer IISB

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB is responsible for the introduction of nitrogen atoms into diamond by means of ion implantation as well as suitable thermal healing of the material.

Fraunhofer IMM

The Fraunhofer Institute for Microtechnology and Microsystems IMM is responsible for the production and characterization of magnetic nanoparticles, which are attached to diamond tips containing NV centers and are intended to act as amplifiers for the quantum magnetometers.

Fraunhofer CAP

The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics CAP develops diamond microoptics and waveguides, which address NV centers, and uses optical characterization methods to evaluate NV centers for magnetometry.


Associated Expertise

The consortium is complemented by the academic expertise of the University of Stuttgart in the field of diamond-based quantum technologies and the University of Freiburg in cooperation with the University of Colorado Boulder in the field of atomic gas magnetometry.