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The Measure of our Success 2022

We provide confidence in measurement data to enable innovation

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Driving growth with Measurement for Quantum

In 2022 we worked on 24 projects with 22 companies and helped bridge the gap from a prototype in a research environment to an industry-ready, innovative new product or service. In total 50 companies have worked with NPL via the Measurement for Quantum (M4Q) programme, which supports innovation and drives growth by providing up to 20 days of specialist quantum measurement expertise.  Of the companies that have taken advantage of this programme, 73% of them were micro or small, from all over the UK.   

  • M4Q supports innovation, with participants reporting new and/or improved:  ​

    • Products (77%)
    • Processes (32%)
    • Services (10%)  

Register your interest in the Measurement for Quantum programme

Characterising components for ultra-accurate atomic clocks with Inex Microtechnologies

NPL helped Inex Microtechnologies design and calibrate components, including vapour cells, used in the production of atomic clocks for telecommunications and finance applications. This enabled the development of quality control in their manufacturing line and the customisation of performance parameters. As a result of the collaboration, Inex has achieved a 20% reduction on rejected items and received an Innovate UK grant.

The next generation of atomic clocks at NPL, using laser‑cooled trapped ions or atoms

Read our atomic clock case study

Using subsea cable as arrays of geophysical sensors to monitor earth movement

NPL has successfully demonstrated a disruptive new technique that transforms undersea power and telecom cables into arrays of environmental sensors. The technique has the potential to revolutionise monitoring of the earth's movement by enabling continuous, real-time environmental data from the bottom of oceans and helping vital research into earthquakes and volcanoes.

Read our environmental sensors news story  

Boosting productivity with Analysis for Innovators 

In 2022, three rounds of the Analysis for Innovators (A4I) competition were launched, with NPL delivering 86 projects with UK companies. The programme gives organisations access to cutting-edge R&D expertise and facilities, from NPL and other world-leading laboratories and institutes, to help solve problems that they have been unable to tackle using standard technologies and techniques. The programme is run in collaboration with Innovate UK and helps to boost productivity and competitiveness in UK businesses by solving measurement and analysis problems.

Download A4I infographic


Emiliana De Santis in the Quantum Information Processing labs


Accelerating the commercialisation of quantum technology with Aquark

Aquark worked with NPL to develop a demonstrator of its cold atom trap which is vital for the development of the next generation of quantum sensing and computing. NPL enabled them to take 6 months off their research timeline and demonstrate the potential of its technology to partners, customers and investors.

 “M4Q was absolutely perfect, because it effectively accelerated the process… this acceleration has increased our chances of commercialising this technology… being able to work with NPL definitely increases our chances of success.” - Andrei Dragomir, CEO

Read our quantum technology case study

Developing the UK Measurement Strategy

NPL supported the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the writing of the UK Measurement Strategy, published by the UK Government in 2022, and including contributions from the other measurement laboratories in the National Measurement System. It describes how the UK will capitalise on its world-leading national measurement system in order to:

  • Enable scientific discovery by providing the basis for determining uncertainty.

  • Accelerate innovation by providing confidence in the performance of emerging technologies.
  • Allow trade to be equitable by ensuring compliance with standards and regulations.

Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, noted that “measurement is essential for the smooth running of our everyday lives.”

NPL welcomes publication of the UK Measurement Strategy

Representing NPL at the Houses of Parliament

Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, Southfields and Roehampton and Filipe Richheimer.

Filipe Richheimer, Higher Research Scientist, attended STEM for Britain, an annual exhibition of posters by early-career research scientists, run by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and hosted in the Houses of Parliament. He presented his research in nanoscale metrology to accelerate the uptake of next generation solar panels, and therefore helping to decarbonise energy generation. Filipe said: “I am really excited to be representing NPL at the Houses of Parliament. It’s great that researchers at the beginning of their career have the opportunity to promote their work at the highest level.” Photo: Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, Southfields and Roehampton and Filipe.

Read more about this nanoscale metrology story

Watch our video to learn about NPL

Rachel Goden and the Optical Frequency team in NPL labs Rachel Goden and the Optical Frequency team in NPL labs

Collaborating with other Public Sector Research Establishments

Alan BrewinAlan Brewin, Science and Engineering Director was elected as Chair of the National Laboratory Alliance, a collaborative group of Public Sector Research Establishments which helps strengthen government science capability and further the effectiveness of members.

Read Alan's profile

Promoting the importance of metrology

Graeme ReidSenior Fellow, Professor Graham Machin FREng, an acknowledged world leader in Thermometry and founding member of the UK body temperature measurement group was invited to join the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. During his 5 year tenure, he aims to promote the important role of NPL and metrology, and how they benefit the economy and quality of life in the UK. 

Read more on the importance of metrology

Building the skills and capability for the future UK quantum industry

The NPL Quantum Programme promotes the UK as a driving force for global standardisation and the continued development of new test and evaluation capabilities across the spectrum of quantum technologies.  

NPL enabled the skills the UK quantum industry will need for the future by developing: 

  • 3 joint appointments with UK universities 
  • 2 apprentices 
  • Funding 11 PhD students

Quantum capabilities  

Quantum capabilities Quantum capabilities

Creating new ways to measure electrical properties of 2D materials 

Gokhan Bakan, Senior Research Scientist, explains what Hall Effect measurement is and how it can be used to investigate the electrical properties of materials, particularly 2D materials in various environments. This has impact in the semiconductor, photovoltaic and touch-sensor industries. 

Electrical transport measurements in variable environments

Appointed to key positions in the UK’s quantum landscape

J T JanssenOlga Kazakova

JT Janssen, Chief Scientist, and Olga Kazakova, Fellow, were appointed to key positions in the UK-wide Materials for Quantum Network programme, which was launched to complement the National Quantum Technology Programme.

Read our quantum programmes news story

Scientific highlights

Radiofrequency (RF) magnetometers are sensors that measure and map the strength of the magnetic fields of atoms due to the amplitude of the atomic coherence oscillations. We improved the beam power, stabilisation and control of RF field distribution, enabling the development of sensor calibration and detection of material defects in a manufacturing situation.   

Quantum noise models are critical for error mitigation and correction in quantum computing. By using techniques from uncertainty quantification and trustworthy AI, we were able to arrive at a minimal noise model that can accurately model experimental results and providing uncertainty. This work is essential to the evaluation the performance of quantum computers. 

Advancing materials science for detecting defects in quantum circuit

NPL scientists, in collaboration with international experts, developed a new method for revealing the structure and chemistry of surface spins causing defects in quantum circuits. This allows us to investigate the impact of chemical treatments and establish processes that reduce the amount of defects detected. This is an essential step in the progress toward large-scale quantum computing.  

Read our quantum computing news story 

Shaping the realisation of novel ferroelectric memory with the University of Manchester 

Demonstrating the existence of ferroelectric behaviour in bi-layer Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) shows a potential avenue towards room temperature electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices with built-in ferroelectric memory functions. The research, carried out by NPL and the University of Manchester, was published in Nature Nanotechnology. 

Read our ferroelectric news story 

Awarded IoP President’s Medal for leadership 

Sir Peter Knight

Professor Sir Peter Knight, Distinguished Visitor and Chair of the NPL Quantum Metrology Institute, was awarded IOP’s 2022 President’s Medal for his leadership and championing of the value of physics and quantum technology to society, nationally and internationally.

Read Sir Peter Knight's news story

Awarded a career development fellowship from EPSRC

Dr Sebastian de Graaf, Senior Research Scientist, was awarded a quantum technologies career development fellowship from EPSRC. He will lead a project to develop a novel instrument essential for understanding the quality of materials used in quantum circuits and computers. 

Read our quantum technologies news story 


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