The OSCAR (Optical Sensors based on CARbon materials) project series focuses on the development of next-gen sensors based on carbon materials. More specifically, magnetic field sensors that are exploiting Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) color centers in diamond and work on quantum principles. By going quantum, such a sensor can offer ultra high sensitivity (down to femtotesla), wide dynamic range (fT - T), fast response to changes in magnetic fields (~100ns), and stability in time and temperature.
With such a performance the sensors can be employed in various applications. Thanks to its wide dynamic range they can measure small fields in high field environment. This can be for example in the characterization of electromagnetic noise. In space this can be beneficial for space weather analysis and to counteract its negative impacts.
The project OSCAR-QUBE (QUantum BElgium), is the third part of the OSCAR project series. The OSCAR-BEXUS and OSCAR-QLITE experiments were flown in the framework of ESA (European Space Agency) stratospherical balloon program REXUS/BEXUS (Rocket/Balloon EXperiment for Univeristy Students). This time, however, we are aiming higher.
ESA has opened a call in the framework of Orbit Your Thesis program - giving the possibility to fly scientific experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS). We are looking for students of UHasselt to join us on the journey to design, develop, assemble, test and fly the next iteration of our diamond magnetic field sensor.
What about the timeline? A detailed description of the the program schedule can be found here. The project span is about one and a half year, from December 2019 to July 2021.
Are you in your final year? No problem, join us, we will find a solution.
What are the objectives of this project?
Designing and developing a diamond based magnetic field sensor to be used onboard the ISS
Exploring novel uses of quantum magnetometry
Obtaining measurements of magnetic fields and electromagnetic disturbances on the orbit and within ISS
Advancing the diamond magnetometry technology - the transition from the lab to the real environment
Bringing extracurricular opportunity for UHasselt students
Why is this important?
A wide range of applications can be foreseen for these ultra-high sensitivity magnetometers. They can be upgrades to the current compasses for navigation, direct measurement tools of small magnetic fields in biomedical devices, or sensors to help in geology and mining. Most importantly, space weather and outer space exploitation is envisaged, due to the extraordinary robustness of diamond.
We are pushing the boundaries of sensing technology!