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Revolutionizing Medicine: The Quantum Discovery in Murcia

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Revolutionizing Medicine: The Quantum Discovery in Murcia

The quantum discovery made in Murcia that will revolutionize medicine

In the Second World War, an arms race began in order to achieve the first nuclear fission. All with the aim of creating an atomic bomb to demonstrate technological power against the rest. Finally, it was the United States, led by the physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who achieved the milestone.

Today, several decades later, the technological race is marked by another field: the quantum world. Once again, the United States is one of the countries that is at the forefront of the findings, along with China. European countries like Germany have also made a place for themselves. In fact, worldwide the total investment amounts to 850,000 million euros. Spain, until now, did not stand out in this area, but the future of the country may change from now on.

It was in a laboratory at the University of Murcia where a milestone occurred that could change the technological future of the country. The research group Quantum Technologies, led by the physicist and teacher Javier Prior, has managed, after three years of hard work, to control a quantum platform that may have promising applications, to say the least.

This is a discovery that so far has only been developed mainly in the United States and Germany. The detection of new diseases, earlier detection of cancer, as well as the development of new treatments for all types of diseases, including old age itself, could be some of the consequences of this discovery.

The group’s research is currently going precisely along the lines of medicine. Three of the projects they carry out will allow them to study clinical samples in their quantum sensor. The procedure to follow, explains Prior, is as follows: a clinical sample of cells is passed through a nanometer-sized channel (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter) located in a diamond. In this way, researchers will be able to see and analyze the molecules in detail, being able to detect with never-before-seen precision which of them present a very early stage of a certain disease.

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The research group is made up of eleven people, five hired, and several students who collaborate.

Close analysis of the cell

This sensor would be able to detect the first signs of an illness monitoring in real-time what is happening inside a cell since it has a sensitivity and precision not seen so far in any of the devices that Spanish medicine currently has.

To do this, the physicist explains, “what we do is take our quantum sensors, implant them inside nanodiamonds and these, in turn, we introduce into the cell. This allows for the early detection of the disease, which opens up the possibility of slowing down the development of the disease,” he says.

Furthermore, “by understanding in a much more precise way how the disease begins to develop, how and in what places in the cell it begins to develop, the door opens to the creation of new treatments because it can be known exactly in which part of the cell should be acted upon.”


The milestone that the group of UMU research, currently made up of eleven people (five hired and several students who collaborate), is to have a unique platform from the point of view of quantum sensors. In this way, they have a detector capable of “feeling” the smallest magnetic and electric fields imaginable.

The objective is to achieve the creation of a device that allows this technology to be used in hospitals.

One and a half million euros

The Quantum Technologies project began to take shape about three years ago, based on a patent that Javier Prior obtained with some German collaborators. From that moment on, the research group has obtained, in recent years, more than one and a half million euros from three European projects and two national ones, with which they have managed to launch what has been the first quantum technologies laboratory based on one of the most promising quantum platforms that exist today: nitrogen atoms implanted inside a diamond, thus creating what can be considered a sensor.

Lack of mechanisms

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Javier Prior says that several years ago, he had different meetings with representatives of the Community, precisely to start a company, technological base where to develop some of the patents that had been developed in Germany.

The German researchers agreed to transfer the technology to a base company in Spain. However, The UMU researcher ran into a barrier: “The Region does not have mechanisms to develop a company of these characteristics.” At the same time, in Germany, a technology of similar magnitude was developed based on magnetic resonators that has resulted, today, in a multinational company that has a turnover of millions of euros.

Future of the project

Despite everything, Prior has not lost hope and believes that it is possible to continue developing the different applications of the project from a business point of view in the Region. The researcher’s idea is to create a startup together with other companies, one based in Australia, another German, and another Israeli, linked to the researchers with whom he has worked in recent years.

The ultimate goal is to achieve the creation of a device that allows the use of this quantum technology in hospitals. In short, a device that allows the detection of new diseases through much more precise analyzes than those seen until now, which would revolutionize Spanish medicine.

“The Region could be a pioneer in the development of a quantum computer”

The ability to control the quantum state of the sensor developed by Quantum Technologies at room temperature also opens the door to the construction of new quantum computers based on this platform.

Today, few countries have this technology. USA (Google, Amazon, IBM, etc.) and China monopolize most of the achievements in this regard. Australia, Germany, France, India, the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea are other nations that invest the most in projects of this nature.

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As for Spain, to date has only invested 23 million euros for the launch of a future quantum computer in Barcelona, but “not as powerful as the one that could be developed with our technology,” says Prior.

This is because, he explains, it would be based on superconducting chips like the ones Google uses on its computer, which “does not have enough processors to solve very complex quantum problems.”

“The Region of Murcia could be a pioneer in developing, worldwide, one of the first quantum computers based on sensors NV Center -those developed by the UMU group-,” emphasizes Prior. The advantage of this type of computer over ordinary computers is that “they are capable of doing several calculations at the same time.”

The quantum discovery made in Murcia could potentially revolutionize medicine and pave the way for significant advancements in technology and healthcare. The groundbreaking work done by the research group at the University of Murcia showcases Spain’s potential to make significant contributions to the field of quantum technology, with the hope of benefiting not only the region but also the global community.

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