Silicon Valley Manufacturer Building Premium Atom Optic Sensors For The Quantum World

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According to data published in a Marketwatch report from September 2020, the quantum sensor global market is set to rise substantially between 2020 and 2025’. Notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19, that’s a very healthy prognosis, one that will surely please the CEOs and shareholders of some of the major players in the industry like Argon ST, Bosch and SRI International etc.

Another major player is AOSense. Founded in 2004 by Brenton Young, Mark Kasevich and James Spilker, this employee-owned company has its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. A leading player in the development and manufacturing of cutting-edge atom optic sensors for ‘precision navigation, time and frequency standards, and gravity measurement’, AOSense’s origins come from research developed at Stanford University. Getting its first major contract in 2006 with DARPA to ‘design, build and test a gravity gradiometer and single-axis accelerometer/gyroscope’, since then —  almost a decade and a half ago —  things have gone from strength to strength.

With an expert team of some thirty people as of October 2020 that has experience in many areas of project management and execution, including, though not limited to, theory, analysis, conceptual design, and detailed 3D CAD, the firm can also pride itself in designing, as well as building custom atom trapping and vacuum hardware within the scope of size, weight, and power requirements demanded by AOSense’s clients.

And AOSense is in a very good position on the market. The impact quantum sensors and quantum enhancement could have on our future are considerable: they could change numerous scientific disciplines such as ultra-high-precision microscopy to electrical and magnetic field sensors. Quantum enhancement, too, will give scientists and industry the chance to view such phenomena as gravitational waves at much longer distances and help people in their everyday lives by improving autonomous driving systems, medical prognosis and brain-mapping.

Now, who wouldn’t like all that?

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AOSense’s product portfolio is diverse, ranging in scope from integrated laser controllers (ILC), external cavity diode lasers (ECDLs), optical isolators, miniature ion pumps to gravimeters.

Master Team

Behind all this hardware and technological innovation is the founding team of AOSense, president Brenton Young, consulting chief scientist Mark Kasevich and James Spilker, whose role is executive chairman.

Young has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. Before AOSense, he was the principal investigator for programs to develop atom optic sensors and control electronics for DARPA and the Air Force.

Sensors for a Quantum World

— AOSense

A professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford University, Kasevich’s research interests are in the development of novel gravimetric and navigation sensors based on cold atoms.


Spilker, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the alma mater of his two fellow AOSense founders, Stanford University, is a former professor of electrical engineering and aeronautics and astronautics there. A co-founder and Chairman of Stanford Telecom, he was also the 2019 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

With annual revenue of nearly $5M in 2020 and seventeen patents to its name, AOSense is doing everything right to become a major player in the quantum sensing industry.

For more market insights, check out our latest quantum computing news here.

James Dargan

James Dargan is a writer and researcher at The Quantum Insider. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader.

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