Quantum Technologies are based on the properties of atoms, electrons and photons of everyday objects. 'Quantum' refers to the minimum amount of a physical entity. A photon is a quantum, for example, as it is the smallest divisible unit of light: a single light particle.
Quantum physics describes the behaviour of small particles, including photons, as well as atoms, ions and electrons. The wave-like behaviour of quantum systems gives rise to many interesting properties that can be exploited in areas such as computing, communication and timing.
These fundamental particles can provide unchanging standards to use for measurement and their 'quantum' behaviour can potentially create a completely new class of advanced sensors and systems, with radically new capabilities for timing and navigation, communications, computing and other critical applications.
Several research groups at NPL are currently working on advancing quantum technologies. New investments are building on NPL's expertise to enhance the UK's capabilities in developing and applying these exciting technologies.
The Quantum Metrology Institute brings together all of NPL's leading-edge quantum science and metrology research and provides the expertise and facilities needed for academia and industry to test, validate, and ultimately commercialise new quantum research and technologies.
The Institute provides the measurement expertise and facilities needed to underpin the National Quantum Technologies Programme, in which the government has invested £270m.
By bringing together industry engineers, academic researchers, and NPL scientists in a highly collaborative environment, the QMI plays a key role in the creation of a UK industry based on quantum technologies.
Vision for quantum metrology at NPL
Quantum phenomena are set to change the world around us. The QMI at NPL will be a leading centre for quantum metrology in Europe, collaborating with academic partners, government and industry to advance scientific discovery in quantum physics and materials. We deliver world-class research based on quantum phenomena for future generation SI standards and enable the translation of quantum technologies and materials into practical applications, accelerating the commercialisation of new products based on quantum systems.
This edition of Insights examines how government funding and strategic partnerships are helping to translate quantum research from the laboratory into successful commercial technologies, which will help maintain the UK's leading position in the field.
- A first-of-its-kind tuneable single-photon microwave source has been developed for use in quantum technology.
- NPL scientist Vishal Panchal has been growing 1D graphene nanostructures at NIST.
- NPL and NTT in Japan measure silicon single-electron pumps with the highest speed and accuracy ever achieved.
- A planning application for a new Advanced Quantum Metrology Laboratory at NPL has just been submitted.
- Research into graphene, the wonder material of the last decade is now maturing into providing the quality control methods and processes which will lead to impact on UK industry.
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