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New NPL quantum programme to support UK economic growth

As part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP), NPL has initiated its own quantum programme.

This wide-ranging NPL programme will focus on the many ways in which NPL, as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, can contribute to the national endeavour to build economic growth for the UK, based on new products and services for a range of quantum technologies.

The new NPL quantum programme consists of multiple elements, each using different aspects of NPL capability. NPL will work closely with the EPSRC-funded quantum technology hubs, groups of UK research-leading universities focussed on a specific technology area. NPL is already a key partner in several of these hub programmes, for example in the field of atomic clocks or quantum communications. However, there are many other areas in which NPL capability could enhance the outputs from the hubs in sensing, imaging and quantum computing.

Through its new programme, NPL will lead on the creation of a comprehensive capability to test and evaluate prototypes and new products based on quantum technologies for the UK. This will involve the design and construction of new test facilities. The collaboration with partners around the UK is an important aspect of this programme. This programme will involve aspects of skills and training, giving access for industry to test facilities, and work on establishing new methods and protocols which could contribute to new international standards.

NPL is a partner in a large number of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund quantum projects, and in the latest round of funded projects, NPL has been invited to be a partner in at least one project in every call and in every technical theme. These industry-led projects aim to develop new components or products or address barriers to commercialisation. As the UK’s National Metrology Institute, NPL provides testing expertise into the projects and on occasion, offer our technology development expertise.

The new NPL quantum programme will allow NPL to become a partner in more scientifically-focussed projects as part of academic consortiums which will focus on the application of quantum technologies to address some of the biggest questions in cosmology and particle physics.

Dr Rhys Lewis, Head of NPL’s Quantum Metrology Institute states: “NPL, as a government laboratory, has built a wide and deep expertise in many aspects of quantum technologies. We work in quantum computing, communications, sensing, imaging and timing. We believe with this new programme we can make an important and valuable contribution to the national programme both as a partner in the test and evaluation of new products, and in supporting the development of new technologies. We can help build confidence in quantum for everyone involved; for manufacturers, for investors, and for end users.”

The NPL programme is being supported by BEIS and will enable NPL to play a full role in the national quantum programme across all its aspects including quantum computing.

02 Sep 2020