National Physical Laboratory

Quantum Detection Quantum Detection

The Quantum Detection team 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

  • 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.
  • A synthesizer for waveforms directly in terms of the Josephson effect.
  • Investigating sources of decoherence in quantum 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

  • Adhesion map of epitaxial graphene on SiC
  • Anisotropic magnetoresistance in a domain wall device as function of magnetic field and its orientation.
  • Domain wall device made of permalloy with gold leads
  • Effect of water desorption on the surface potential of epitaxial graphene
  • Scanning gate microscopy image of a graphene Hall bar
  • Simulation of a flux qubit coupled to a microwave resonator