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International centre for medical quantum sensing to locate in Copenhagen Science City

Copenhagen Science City is home to one of the most vibrant quantum research and innovation communities in the world.

Quantum sensing could improve diagnosis and prevention of many diseases. Now, The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 150 million to establish the Copenhagen Center for Biomedical Quantum Sensing. The centre aims to develop novel quantum sensing principles and techniques for early detection of diseases. It will be located with the Niels Bohr Institute, the physics department at Copenhagen Science City-partner University of Copenhagen.

Far better than classical sensors

Human health depends on our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, but many conditions hardly cause any symptoms in their early stages when they could be effectively treated. Examples include metabolic disorders, nutritional deficiencies, cardiovascular conditions and brain diseases. The advancement of the quantum sensing technologies enables us to register and measure small changes in motion and electric and magnetic fields far better than classical sensors.

Quantum sensing is among the most mature of the quantum technologies and holds the potential to greatly improve medical diagnostics. Denmark has a stronghold in quantum sensing, and with this grant we want to enable further development and translation of this powerful technology from the laboratories to clinical applications,” says Lene Oddershede, Senior Vice President, Natural & Technical Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Collaboration. National and international

The Copenhagen Center for Biomedical Quantum Sensing will be established with a grant of DKK 150 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Under this new ambitious research project, researchers at the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Texas at Austin aim to advance quantum sensing and imaging technologies in medical diagnostics and healthcare.

Disease prevention beyond limits

The primary goal of the new research collaboration is to develop and use novel quantum sensing principles and techniques for biomedical diagnostics that can operate near and beyond standard quantum limits of sensitivity. At the University of Copenhagen, researchers will focus on developing highly sensitive sensors that have potential to be more precise than current state-of-the-art methods for detecting diseases.

Sensors of electromagnetic fields are the core components of modern medical diagnostics. Our aim is to exploit fundamental concepts of quantum physics, such as quantum superpositions and entanglement, to develop sensors whose sensitivity exceeds standard quantum limits. Such quantum sensors will help the early detection and prevention of diseases,” says Eugene Polzik, Professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, and leader of the Copenhagen Center for Biomedical Quantum Sensing.

Collaboration across fields

In collaboration with hospitals and biomedical experts, the aim is to develop novel atomic and quantum-enabled methods that can be applied to some of the most urgent health problems.

A thriving quantum community in Copenhagen Science City

University of Copenhagen has been a global centre for quantum research since 1921 when physicist Niels Bohr leveraged a Nobel Prize into funding for an institute bearing his name. More recently, several other initiatives have co-located in Copenhagen Science City in order to build on the innovation districts’ thriving quantum community.

The new center for medical quantum sensing adds another important dimension to the quantum ecosystem in Copenhagen Science City which is one of the worlds’ most vibrant”: Kristoffer Klebak, Head of Secretariat, Copenhagen Science City.


The Novo Nordisk Foundation has recently made substantial investments in quantum technologies, including a grant to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Quantum Computing Programme and funding for Quantum Foundry Copenhagen P/S. The international quantum sensing research collaboration will consolidate and significantly strengthen the quantum sensing activities in Denmark, fostering international synergy and promoting translation into clinical applications.