Quantum sensors exploit the fundamental properties of atoms and light to make measurements of the world. The quantum states of particles are extremely sensitive to the environment, which is a virtue for sensing, if problematic for making a quantum computer. Quantum sensors that use particles as probes can quantify acceleration, magnetic fields, rotation, gravity and the passage of time more precisely than can classical devices that are engineered or based on chemical or electrical signals. They can be used to make atomic clocks that are smaller and more accurate, cameras that can see through fog and around corners, and devices for mapping structures underground, among many other potential applications. They stand to transform a multitude of sectors, from energy, land use and transport to health care, finance and security. But their commercial promise needs to be appreciated more.

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