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The UK’s ability to lead the world in quantum science and technologies has been boosted today by the announcement of a £12 million investment in key researchers.
The Quantum Technologies Fellowships are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and will support both the individuals and their teams to help realise the country’s potential.
Part of the £270 million National Quantum Technology Programme, the Fellowships are aimed at Early and Established career stage academics whose research focuses on the direct exploitation of quantum phenomena, such as superposition or entanglement, to address the challenges of translation of quantum science through technology to eventual application.
Announcing the Fellowships, Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson said:
Pioneering researchers from across the UK are investigating game-changing applications for quantum technology, from advanced communications to improved cancer detection and navigation services. We want Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate, and this £12 million investment in UK research will support the next generation of scientists and secure our leadership in world-class quantum research.
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said:
These Fellowships are a key part of the UK’s National Programme for Quantum Technologies; they will allow our current and future research leaders in the field to research, discover and innovate. They will push the quantum technologies agenda forward, make new collaborations both to source wider research expertise to overcome technical barriers, and to engage with the industry partners who will potentially utilise these technologies.
Quantum technologies use the properties of quantum physics to gain a functionality or performance which is otherwise unattainable. They promise future dramatic changes in the technological capabilities in several key areas, including secure communications, metrology, sensor technologies, simulation and computation.
The fellowships complement the other components of the national programme and EPSRC investments in Quantum Technology Hubs and Centres for Doctoral Training. The fellows will develop potentially transformative research that contributes to the development of novel quantum technologies, which is not being undertaken in the existing hubs.
It has long been know that light behaves as both wave and particle. For instance in interactions with atoms, single particles of light (photons) can be absorbed or emitted. However, the scattering of light by atom-like emitters can lead to photon-like and wave-like effects in the same experiment. This project will enhance and exploit this behaviour using single atom-like light emitters embedded in wavelength scale optical cavities to make ultra-low power optical switches. The wave particle duality will also allow researchers to make the fundamental gates and memory elements required to build a quantum computer, or repeaters for quantum communications over long distances.
This fellowship will develop optical components for low cost and efficient wavelength conversion, which provides a way to change the ‘colours’ of single photon, offering breakthroughs in telecommunications, imaging and quantum science.
We are all familiar with the everyday use of modern imaging technology, for example in our smartphones. This Fellowship will examine the next generation of imaging systems enabled by quantum technology. This includes forms of three-dimensional imaging accurately captured using laser-based illumination. This will be extended to high-resolution imaging under extreme low-light level conditions where we have, on average, less than one photon per pixel. Furthermore, the use of quantum entangled photons will used to improve image quality in certain key, niche application areas.
This project seeks to verify and validate potential quantum technologies, from full scale computers and simulators, to communication networks with devices of varying size and complexity, down to realistic gadgets based on quantum technology. This is a key challenge in the transition from theory to practice for quantum computing technologies.
The vision of this project is to develop practical quantum technology for the accurate measurement of electrical currents and to develop high sensitivity detectors for gases such as carbon dioxide, methane (the gas used to heat homes) and carbon dioxide.
Harnessing quantum states of light will overhaul the way we measure physical parameters and quantify our environment. This fellowship aims to use the scalability and manufacturability of integrated photonics to realise revolutionary quantum enhanced approaches to sensing. This will enable capabilities beyond the state of the art and beyond the limits of classical physics for a range of measurement systems, including spectroscopy and interferometry.
In the quantum realm, data is quickly garbled by a pervading crackle of noise. This fellowship will design quantum computers that run smoothly despite noise, refreshing data quicker than it degrades. Current designs lock up over 99% of computational resources to prevent them outputting meaningless junk. The goal is to devise a reliably technology with minimal resources dedicated to these operational overheads.
Quantum photonics will be the first quantum technology to make a noticeable impact on society. The aim of this fellowship is to use cutting-edge technology to drastically speed up the generation rates of
entangled photonic quantum bytes. These will be applied to a range of quantum tasks: secure quantum encryption with trusted devices, quantum-enhanced imaging, and all-optical quantum networking protocols.
The aim of this fellowship is to develop a functional detector of single microwave photons. Such a detector is essential for implementing practical applications in quantum communications and quantum computation with microwaves. The team will employ trapped electrons as ultra-sensitive sensors of microwave radiation.
This proposal aims to develop a hybrid device combining atoms and superconducting circuits to provide a route to next-generation technology capable of manipulating light at the single photons to enable scalable quantum networking.
The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (UKNQTP) aims to ensure the successful transition of quantum technologies from laboratory to industry. The programme is delivered by EPSRC, Innovate UK, BIS, NPL, GCHQ, Dstl and the KTN. For more information, visit the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.
Quantum Technologies Showcase 2015 taking place on 11 November at The Royal Society - to attend, please book your free ticket at UK National Quantum Technology Showcase 2015 - Event and Conference.
As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.
By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture.
We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via UK Research and Innovation.
Reference: PN 51-15
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