New England Startup Using Diamonds & Quantum Tech For Better Medical Diagnostic Results


New England Startup Using Diamonds & Quantum Tech For Better Medical Diagnostic Results

Photo by Yuri Bodrikhin on Unsplash

Coming A Long Way

As might be expected, the medical fields — be it research or the underlying tech behind it — has come a long way in the last couple of decades, and with the advent of quantum technologies, that progression is set to continue. One discipline where quantum information science (QIS) can really improve outcomes is in nanoscale-magnetic resonance imaging (nano-MRI). The sensitivity of MRIs, and how they can be used to diagnose patients, as well as treating them, can be greatly improved upon by utilizing magnetic nanoprobes in MRIs. Another way of achieving novel nanoscale imaging is by nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres in diamonds.

In a recent TQD article, I highlighted how research by UCL and iSense suggests nanodiamonds can greatly increase the detection of many of humanity’s deadliest diseases.

It’s still early days, but the signs are good that with quantum technologies at our side we’re on the right track to eradicating — or at the very least — detecting viruses and other maladies much earlier.

And quantum sensing will be at the forefront of that.

Global monolith Bosch and smaller organizations like Rydberg Technologies are breaking new ground in quantum sensing, not necessarily in biotech, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is:


That is, by the way, the slogan of Quantum Diamond Technologies Inc (QDTI), a Sommerville, Massachusetts startup on the way to ‘building a quantum sensor capability with the potential to disrupt the biomarker detection and medical diagnostics fields’.


In business since 2012, but only now showing the world its precious IP, QDTI’s work is the result of years of intensive research at Harvard University in quantum sensors’ potential to shatter current prejudices in biomarker detection and medical diagnostics. And they do that using, voilà: with nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres.

But what are NV centres?

Well, NV centres are tiny imperfections in the crystal diamonds. These defects measure — in a weird quantum way — the electronic states of the immediate vicinity in crystal diamonds with a high level of spatial resolution and unprecedented sensitivity.

To achieve this feat, ‘QDTI uses billions of NV centres just below the surface of a synthetic diamond sensor.’

Its imaging technology and magnetic-based immunoassay detection are set to change diagnostic outcomes in the medical professions.

Yet this is all very well, but what sets QDTI apart from its competitors?

These are done by:

 — Ultra Simple Sample Preparation

 — Ultrasensitive Detection of Low-concentration Biomarkers

 — Minimal Sample Input

 — Flexibility in Biomarker Targets

QDTI is led by CEO John Pena and Seabron Adamson, the startup’s CFO. Pena has a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Chicago, as well as an MBA from the Chicago Booth School of Business. Adamson, meanwhile, has two MAs, one in economics from Boston University and the other in applied physics from Georgia Tech.


With a support team comprising an advisory board and directors of technology development, assay technologies and software engineering, QDTI has all it needs regarding human resources to make the next steps in the industry.

Helping them make those first steps is the fact QDTI has been awarded a number of grants over the last few years to assist growth, with financial backing coming from a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) over two grants, not to mention the National Science Foundation (NSF) Phase I SBIR grant it received in 2017 and the MassVentures START program grant, valued at $100k, QDTI obtained from the 2018 program. y aThis proves there is a great amount of trust in what they are doing, obviously.

With the grants, the team and IP all in place, QDTI is ready to show the industry how its technology can improve our lives.

James Dargan

James Dargan

James Dargan is a contributor 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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