Diagnostic Brian Imaging Using Room Temperature Quantum Technology Sensors

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Physics & Astronomy


The principal investigator (PI) will, with input from the co-investigators (CIs) as subject matter experts in Magneto-
Electroencephalography (MEG) and Quantum Technology (QT) magnetometery, undertake a systems engineering review of MEG, informed by current art MEG, and a review of the clinical requirements of a hypothetical diagnostic room temperature MEG system. This will identify technical requirements of future QT based magnetometers as enablers of future room temperature MEG designs, and will form the core of the technical review being undertaken by the research team in support of the project.

The systems engineering review exercise will also contribute to the requirements analysis activity being led by the
commercial partner. The PI and CIs will contribute via a series of workshops and interviews with the commercial partner that will identify key elements required for a room temperature MEG system and associated MEG QT magnetometer designs.

Research team support will also contribute to the competing technologies analysis, specifically proving inputs into the
functional capabilities of MEG compared to other systems in the analysis and diagnosis of a range of mental health
conditions, and the relative advantages / disadvantages of these MEG functionalities. Similarly the team will contribute
specialist knowledge and guidance in supporting the commercial partners research and development of potential applications and market sizes for posited MEG capabilities in future, as well as contributing to the drafting and review of the MEG prototyping road map.

Planned Impact

In the near term the immediate impact from this research is as an enabler supporting those researchers and developers planning new research and development activities for room temperature MEG. In supporting a market study and road mapping exercise this research seeks to define an economically valid and coherent development pathway for a diagnostic MEG capability. Development of low TRL prototype systems such as room temperature MEG, into mature, commercially viable capabilities is often delayed, or even stopped, as they transition from low TRL research activities to mature high TRL capabilities - in the absence of a clearly defined economic rationale and a clear route to commercial prototype, many technologies struggle to secure the research and development funds required to translate across intermediate TRL stages.

The provision of a strategic vision based around a clearly defined forecast capability and a defined economic rationale will form a critical component of future research funding justifications required to accelerate research into the development and commercialization of MEG as a diagnostic tool in coming years.

Ultimately the research will impact all those that benefit from earlier and improved mental health diagnoses enabled by the ubiquitous presence of diagnosis capable MEG systems. These will offer significant impact on the quality of life for many people, as well as reducing, at a national level, the costs of long term mental health care.
Additionally, the development of such a capability will have a significant economic impact for the UK. Bringing to market a real-world diagnostic MEG product which exploits new quantum technology will establish the UK as a leader in the field. It will bring substantial benefits to the UK economy, supporting the creation of a next generation MEG sector in the economy, encompassing design and build of room temperature QT-MEG scanners, data analysis and interpretation diagnostic sub systems through to the training and employment of new clinicians with expertise in neurology and mental health to support and employ these new capabilities.


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Description The report and associated road map have provided a clear, albeit high level, insight of the necessary developments and likely timelines associated with developing next generation MEG into a commercially viable neuroimaging capability for research and clinical applications, including defining key enabling technologies and the associated subsystems that use these technologies, the necessary steps for identifying end user requirements and using these to refine system design, and the likely regulatory compliance pathway that would need to be followed to support accreditation of MEG systems for clinical use.
Exploitation Route University of Nottingham intends to take forward this research (and has done so) via following the researches recommendations for key areas of further research, as well as partnering with a number of commercial organisation to undertake knowledge transfer / exploitation of IP.
Sectors Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy

Description Business planning by UDA,knowledge transfer to UDA.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Economic

Description MEG as a research focus
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Description Unitive Design and Analysis (UDA) 
Organisation Unitive Design and Analysis, Ltd.
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution PI provided support to the Feasibility Study activity via contribution of Systems Engineering input, as well as acting as liaison between UDA and CIs (as subject matter experts in Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Quantum Technology (QT) magnetometery), as well as through CI contacts, facilitation of engagement with a range of wider representative research and clinical end user individuals / organisations.
Collaborator Contribution UDA undertook a non-technical Feasibility Study to investigate the potential commercial development pathway for Magneto Electroencephalography(MEG) utilising next generation QT sensors. This road mapping activity broadly highlighted the commercial potential of next generation MEG, but also strove to identify any shortfalls in avaialbity / maturity of key enabling technologies, regulatory compliance requirements and likely timelines that would need to be addressed to realise the identified potential. The study also sought to identify likely applications and associated markets that could support commercialisation in shorter, intermediate and longer timelines. This collaborative project has contributed significantly towards the universities confidence in the range of applications and likely impact of a number of the enabling technologies supporting MEG, as well as contributing to the development of the proposed scope of activity to be undertaken in Phase 2 of the QT Hub activity. Furthermore the project has contributed to the university identifying and protecting a number of relevant/related aspects of enabling IP. The university is currently examining the feasibility of commercialisation options ranging from knowledge transfer partnerships and licencing through to options for partnering using specific aspects of the IP.
Impact The output of the project is a 100+ page Feasibility Report : Ganymede (UDA internal project name) Unabridged Final Report. However, due to the confidential and proprietary nature of components of the information included in this full report, two briefer reports, a commercially focused redacted report and a public report, were produced. The unabridged report comprises two parts. The first part is a summary of the information gathered and the second part contains the commercial elements and recommendations. The unabridged report contains: • the State of the art SQuID MEG including Performance, Orientation, Limitations, Installation, Maintenance, Safety Considerations, Environmental and Energy Requirements • QT-MEG including Performance, Orientation, Cabling, Magnetometers, Helmet, Limitations, Installation, Safety • MEG Usability Considerations • Clinical Need analysis of 8 potential current or future markets • Competitive modalities analysis • Commercial device requirements • Freedom to operate • Value proposition • The markets which represent the best opportunity • Regulatory considerations • The supply chain • Risk analysis • Roadmap
Start Year 2017