National Physical Laboratory

Quantum Detection Quantum Detection

The Quantum Detection Group at NPL focuses on world-leading fundamental research that exploits quantum phenomena and explores new areas of measurement science that could revolutionise modern metrology.

Research areas

  • NPL is developing superconducting devices and associated measurement systems for signal processing at cryogenic temperatures.
  • Structural and functional engineering, physics and metrology of graphene.
  • Measurements and visualisation of small magnetic fields/moments.
  • Nanoscale superconducting quantum interference devices.
  • Nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS).
  • NPL is developing nano-scale devices for moving electrons one at a time around an electrical circuit. These devices may form the foundation of a future redefinition of the SI base unit for current, the ampere.
  • Technology to facilitate quantum optical processes and algorithms.
  • Superconducting quantum technology and hybrid systems.


NPL’s research into the quantum Hall effect was highlighted in Nature

What we do

  • Research and develop new devices for generating and detecting individual quanta (e.g. phonons or magnetic spin)
  • Work on new techniques for characterising quantum-mechanical state evolution
  • Use quantum coherence and entanglement to enhance measurement precision
  • Develop high speed devices for manipulation of electrical current at the single-electron level
  • Study the latest materials, such as graphene, to advance our understanding of the quantum effects that lie at the heart of the modern measurement system

Measurement needs

Please tell us about any measurement needs you may have. Some examples of these might be:

  • Issues relating to product inspection
  • Issues relating to process control
  • Training requirements
  • Obtaining specialist calibration or testing support
  • Problem solving on measurement issues
  • Demonstrating or assessing measurement system or product performance

Your input will help us to develop our future work.

Take the survey

Meet the team

Image gallery

  • Domain wall-based magnetic nanosensor for detection of magnetic beads.
  • Magnetic stripe domains in nickel heat sink.
  • Focused Ion Beam manipulation of magnetic beads. The bead diameter is 1 µm.
  • Fractal resonator with magnetic field density distribution model at implantation.
  • EASYSPIN simulation of angular dependence of ESR for Gd ions in sapphire.
  • Surface potential image of H2-intercalated epitaxial graphene.
  • Screening effect in bilayer graphene.
  • Magnetic image of NPL-TQEM logo made by e-beam lithography.
  • Magnetic image of the Penrose pattern used for e-beam lithography alignment.


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission