Measurement for our planet
Measurement for our planet

As COP26 approaches, discover how NPL plays a key role in enabling climate action through the delivery of accurate, reliable data that supports decision making and enables low carbon innovation.


Quantum technologies

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 known as the Quantum Metrology Institute.

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What is Quantum?

This animation brings to life the importance of quantum technologies and how they can revolutionise the way we live, as well as clearly explaining the role NPL plays in the quantum field and the technologies that are being developed.

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 are at the heart of future quantum computing

Low-loss electronics

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

Quantum 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


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

Superconducting quantum information processing

We are developing technologies that will deliver a step change in information processing capabilities

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 commercialise and deliver quantum technologies and new devices. 

NPL’s nanoprobe facilities enable the characterisation and imaging of physical and chemical properties on the nanoscale.  

Nanoprobe facilities and consultancy

Measurement for Quantum

Providing measurement solutions for UK companies to help them recover and grow

  • • Building confidence
  • • Driving innovation
  • • Enabling efficiency

Our resources

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


Meet the 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