Qnami is a spin-off from University of Basel, Switzerland that develops and commercializes sensing and imaging technologies using synthetic diamond and quantum technologies. Their precise and highly sensitive quantum sensors provide images in nanometer resolution. Applications in medicine include early-stage medical diagnostic and failure analysis and in the semiconductor industry, failure analysis. Qnami's quantum sensors can enable a reduction of scan times in magnetic resonance imaging in medical diagnostics.
The startup company was founded in 2016 by Dr. Patrick Maletinsky and Dr. Mathieu Munsch from the Department of Physics and Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel. CEO Mathieu Munsch holds a PhD from the Institute Néel in Grenoble and has expertise in nano and quantum technologies and semiconductor materials. CTO, Felipe Favaro has expertise in Material Science and a PhD from University of Stuttgart, in quantum sensing technology using ultra-pure diamond. CSO Patrick Maletinsky is a professor at the University of Basel and leads the quantum sensing group. He obtained his PhD from ETH Zurich in 2008 and contributed to the early development of quantum sensing at Harvard.
Qnami won the Venture Kick prize worth 130'000 Swiss Francs in 2018. Venture Kick is an initiative launched in 2007 which aims to help spin-offs from Swiss universities by accelerating the time to market and attracting professional investors and industrial partners.
Qnami works with tiny diamonds with defect in their crystal lattice called nitrogen-vacancy centers (NV centers) where a carbon atom has been swapped for a nitrogen atom creating a vacant site. Natural diamond with NVs have a reddish color but the Qnami team produces these defects in their diamonds deliberately. NV centers host individual electrons that can be controlled using magnetic of electric fields by disturbing the intrinsic angular momentum (spin) of these electrons and their electric dipole. The result is a change in the luminescence of the NV center luminescence which can be detected using a standard optical device.
NV centers provide images in nanometer resolution with potential applications in the electronics industry. For example, for efficient failure analysis, new magnetic storage media require sensors that provide qualitative measurements of electrical, magnetic, and thermal properties at the nanoscale. In magnetic resonance imaging, the technology is claimed to potentially reduce scanning times by orders of magnitude which can decrease cost and improve patient care.