ColdQuanta Awarded DARPA Contract to Develop a Complete Rydberg Atom-Based RF Sensor System

Boulder, CO, Aug. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ColdQuanta, the leader in Cold Atom Quantum Technology, in conjunction with BAE Systems, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, and the University of Oklahoma, today announced they have collectively been awarded a contract under DARPA’s Quantum Apertures program to demonstrate a complete Rydberg atom-based Radio Frequency (RF) Sensor System. The program aims to demonstrate a system that can receive low intensity, modulated RF signals across a wide spectral range, develop sensor physics and technologies that scale to a fieldable arrayed sensor system, and achieve shot noise limited detection levels that exceed the fundamental limits of classical antennas. This contract is the latest in a series of awards secured by ColdQuanta from DARPA, with capabilities of the program being used by the U.S. Department of Defense for applications such as military communications, radar and electronic warfare.

Advancements made by ColdQuanta under the Quantum Apertures program seek to result in a system that has a broad RF spectral range without extensive antenna requirements. The system could allow for RF signal detection at extremely low intensity with a sensor volume that is 1 cm^3 or less in size. RF signals from 10 MHz to 40 GHz could be capable of being received by a single sensor system without changing hardware components or sensitivity roll-off, outperforming current RF receivers, which require multiple front-end systems and antennas to cover this type of frequency range. This capability will be crucial in maximizing the utility of available spectrum to decongest 5G, and in the future, 6G communications.

The target Rydberg Atom-Based RF Sensor System will also feature an extremely small and lightweight sensor head size that is tetherable by fiber and wires, allowing for maximum portability without sacrificing sensitivity or capabilities. This innovation could pave the way for applications that require sensitivity to much lower intensity RF signals, such as reception of weak satellite signals, like GPS.

“The Quantum Apertures program aims to develop a fundamentally new way of receiving radio frequency waveforms, which is critical to future Department of Defense initiatives for electronic warfare, radar and communications,” said Dr. John Burke, Program Manager in DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office via a DARPA published press release.

The goal is for the prototype capabilities of the Rydberg Atom-Based RF Sensor System to be available in 1.5 years and a portable system in 2.5 years.

“As part of this program, ColdQuanta is making many exciting steps towards providing atom-based RF sensing systems that can deliver greater sensitivity, frequency, bandwidth and range than current solutions available in the market,” said Dan Caruso, executive chairman of ColdQuanta. “In just a few short years, we will have the system ready for deployment and benefiting United States defense initiatives. Moreover, we are already exploring the possibility of leveraging Quantum RF Sensing Receivers in 5G, 6G, and Low Orbit Satellite networks.”

About ColdQuanta

ColdQuanta is the leader in Cold Atom Quantum Technology, the most scalable, versatile, and commercially viable application of quantum. The company operates three lines of business – Quantum Computing, Devices and Machines, and Quantum Research-as-a-Service. The Quantum Computing division will launch Hilbert 1.0, a cloud-based 100 qubit quantum computer, in late 2021. The Devices and Machines division provides products for quantum computing companies and quantum lab environments. Quantum Research-as-a-Service supports the government and enterprises in developing quantum inertial sensing, radio frequency receivers, and networking technologies, including high precision clock prototypes which will be available in late 2022. ColdQuanta will engage commercial customers across all three divisions in late 2021. ColdQuanta is based in Boulder, CO with offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Oxford, UK. Find out more at

The name ColdQuanta and the ColdQuanta logo are both registered trademarks of ColdQuanta, Inc.

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