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Research

Quantum detection

From science fiction to reality

We are harnessing quantum science to create next generation devices

NPL has a rich heritage in exploring, developing and applying quantum science. Our work underpins the redefinition of the worldwide system of measurement units and enables the translation of quantum technologies and materials into practical applications.

As electronic sensors and transistors become smaller and smaller, often consisting of less than 100 atoms, quantum phenomena are more prominent and there is an opportunity to build devices based on quantum principles rather than on traditional science.

We aim to harness these quantum effects to deliver increased information processing power, secure communications, high-precision navigation and earlier diagnosis of diseases. Drawing on decades of experience in quantum, we help to commercialise these technologies, through underpinning standards and extensive test and verification. We work with industry, academic partners and government to accelerate the commercialisation of new products based on quantum systems.

Quantum detection is part of the wider quantum activities in NPL know as the Quantum Metrology Institute.

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Our research

From developing new devices for generating and detecting individual quanta, to improving understanding of the latest materials, such as graphene, we are helping to make the far-reaching possibilities of quantum, reality. We specialise in:

Computational modelling

Our work is helping to accelerate quantum computing capabilities

Ion traps

Our ion traps have the potential to be at the heart of future quantum computing

Nano magnetism

We are improving the understanding of small magnetic fields and how they can be applied to create new capabilities in medical imaging, drug delivery and automotive applications

Physical characterisation of graphene and 2D materials

We are building confidence in new materials through new standards, and unlocking their use for new applications

Quantum electrical standards and the SI

We are working on the latest devices and techniques to disseminate the realisation of the SI units for current, voltage and resistance

Quantum photonics

We are developing technologies to accelerate a new era of ultrafast broadcasting and highly secure communications

Quantum sensors

We are developing quantum sensors to enable single quantum particle detection, as well atomic scale mass sensing, femtometre displacement and sub-piconewton forces

Superconducting nano-devices

We are designing, fabricating and measuring components and circuits based on superconducting devices fabricated at the nano-scale

Superconducting qubits

We are improving the understanding of small magnetic fields and how they can be applied to create new capabilities in medical imaging, drug delivery and automotive applications

Our services

We work with manufacturers of quantum devices to ensure reproducible and standardised processes, and provide test and evaluation to accelerate and increase confidence in quantum products. We are also helping industry deliver quantum technologies and new devices on a commercial scale. We are developing measurement services for graphene and 2D materials.

We also offer extensive training and consultancy support.

Case study

Commercialising the 2D material set to transform electronics

Article

Our resources

We have a large number of freely-available publications by our team. Search our comprehensive list of resources.

Resources

Our team

We have over 50 internationally-recognised researchers focused on quantum, and we are training the next generation of quantum scientists and engineers; developing the capabilities of apprentices, technicians, undergraduates and postgraduates.
View our team