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UK’s quantum hubs show future technology

18 November 2015

Bristol academics joined research teams from universities and companies around the country for the first Quantum Technology Showcase at the Royal Society in London last week, to exhibit new technologies being developed at the UK’s four Quantum Technologies Hubs.

Three hundred delegates from industry, business and government heard how the £270 million UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (UKNQTP) was drawing the country’s research base together with industry, research funding bodies and other government agencies to accelerate the transition of new technologies from the laboratory to industry.

The event was organised to mark the first anniversary of the UK National Quantum Technology Hubs, which were set up in November 2014. The hubs have been formed by a consortium of 17 universities led by the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The four hubs comprise:

The University of Bristol is a partner in QuantIC and the Quantum Communications Hub. Several companies and organisations are formally involved in one or more of the hubs; these include BT, Toshiba, e2v, M Squared Lasers, Dstl, AWE, NPL, Thales, Coherent Lasers, BP, Compound Semiconductor, GCHQ, Selex, Oxford Instruments, and Kelvin Nanotechnology.

The research teams demonstrated how the unique properties of the quantum realm are being used to advance technologies in measurement, security, computing, imaging and sensing. Exhibits included projects to develop superfast cameras that can see round corners, ultra-sensitive gravity sensors that can find oil and gas reservoirs and unbreakable encryption systems that can detect eavesdropping of optical fibres.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the EPSRC, which funds the hubs and other parts of the programme, said: ‘This showcase is a really exciting event and there is clearly a huge amount of interest in what the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme can deliver. The fact that there is a constant conversation and circulation of knowledge between the partners about the research and its potential uses makes this national programme a first. I am confident that it will keep the UK in the vanguard of many research areas and bring about world changing technologies.’

Professor David Delpy, Chair of the UKNQTP, said: ‘The vision for the programme is a coherent community that gives the UK a world-leading position in these emerging multi-million pound markets. The five-year programme will keep us at the leading edge and provide an easy entry point for companies interested in exploiting the potential of quantum technologies.’

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