Quantum devices components and systems

Quantum Devices, Components and Systems involves the creation, control and manipulation of quantum states to design systems with functionality that could not be achieved in a non-quantum world. This goes beyond exploiting the behaviour of inherent quantum effects which deliver fundamental device characteristics, for example as in superconductors and lasers, to deliver non-classical system performance.

Reflecting the ambitions of the National Strategy for Quantum Technologies, we will maintain a strong portfolio of investments in research, high level skills, capital and, increasingly, academic-industry partnerships to build the UK's strength and capabilities in these emerging technologies.

We will maintain our investment in Quantum Devices, Components and Systems relative to the rest of the portfolio, reflecting the significance of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. This will leverage the strengths and capabilities developed over the last decade to establish the UK as a leading player in the emerging quantum technologies industry.

During this Delivery Plan period, research should continue to progress into the development and exploitation of technologies across a range of application areas. The long-term challenges associated with developing and deploying quantum technologies for varied applications, and need for new ideas and concepts to address them, requires a critical mass of research and training capabilities. The UK's national strategy for quantum technologies provides a holistic vision and strategy for quantum technologies in the UK (Evidence source 1).

Highlights:

Quantum-engineered systems promise dramatic improvements in the capabilities in measurement, timing, imaging, sensing, simulation, computing and secure communications. Technologies that are being developed to take advantage of these improvements include cameras capable of seeing through smoke and around corners, gravity sensors for surveying underground structures, highly accurate clocks, and new approaches to secure communication, simulation and computation (Evidence source 2,3,4).

Quantum technologies offer significant and disruptive commercial opportunities in many sectors. Global technology companies, including BT, Google, Lockheed Martin, Toshiba and Hitachi, have located quantum technologies research laboratories in the UK or formed partnerships with UK universities. The development of quantum technologies has significant potential to generate start-up and spin-out activities as new applications emerge, and spur new fundamental research (Evidence source 1,3,5).

In recognition of the potential of quantum technologies, the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme was announced in 2013. The Programme's £270M of investments in research, innovation, and skills aims to position the UK as a 'go to' place for the development of quantum technologies, building on the UK's strong international standing (Evidence source 1,4,5).

The development of quantum technologies relies upon harnessing fundamental quantum physics into engineered components, systems and solutions, where individual atoms, electrons or other particles are manipulated. Maintaining fragile quantum states for prolonged periods requires the integration of high performance lasers, optical and vacuum components and electronics. A range of technology platforms are under development to optimise performance at a commercially viable cost, form factor and power consumption. These requirements draw on, and contribute to, theoretical and experimental advances across EPSRC's portfolio of research, notably in Quantum Optics and Information, Photonic Materials and Metamaterials, Optoelectronic Devices and Circuits, Optical Devices and Subsystems, Microelectronic Device Technology, RF and Microwave Devices, Optical Communications and Sensors and Instrumentation.

The expected emergence of commercially available components and systems will provide research tools and techniques reducing reliance on bespoke experimental equipment. As noted in the Government Office of Science's 'Quantum Age' report, (Evidence source 4), research in this area should be collaborative and placed in the context of alternative approaches and end-users. For example, researchers investigating quantum key distribution (QKD) should collaborate with those working in the area of post-quantum cryptography, and researchers working in quantum computing and simulation should adopt an approach driven by important societal challenges, such as drug development.

Research in Quantum Devices, Systems and Components will contribute to Productive Nation Outcome P1, the Resilient Nation Outcome R3 (Develop better solutions to acute threats: cyber, defence, financial and health) and, in the long-term, Connected Nation Outcome C4 (Ensure a safe and trusted cyber society).

P1 - Introduce the next generation of innovative and disruptive technologies

Research in Quantum Devices, Components and Systems is expected to contribute to the emergence of new imaging, sensing, timing, communication and computing technologies that harness quantum phenomena to provide unrivalled precision and sensitivity.

R3 - Develop better solutions to acute threats: cyber, defence, financial and health

Research in Quantum Devices, Components and Systems is expected to contribute to this ambition by enabling secure telecommunication links and networks.

C4 - Ensure a safe and trusted cyber security

Research in Quantum Devices, Components and Systems will be expected to contribute to this ambition by providing solutions to important intractable problems through advances in quantum computers and embedded quantum security.

Main sources of input for this rationale:

  1. Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board, 'National Strategy for Quantum Technologies' (PDF), (2015).
  2. Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board, 'A Roadmap for Quantum Technologies in the UK (PDF)', (2015).
  3. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, 'UK Quantum Technology Landscape 2016', (2016).
  4. Government Office of Science, 'The Quantum Age: Technological Opportunities (PDF)', (2016).
  5. Institute of Physics, 'The Age of the Qubit', (2011)

Research area connections

This diagram shows the top 10 connections between Research Areas within the EPSRC research portfolio. The depth of the segment relates to value of grants and the width of the segment relates to the number of grants shared by those two Research Areas. Please click to see the related Research Area rationale.

Maintain

We aim to maintain this area as a proportion of the EPSRC portfolio.

Visualising our Portfolio (VoP)
Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships.

EPSRC support by research area in Quantum devices, components and systems (GoW)
Search EPSRC's research and training grants.

Resources

Contact Details

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Wendy Carr
Job title: Portfolio Manager
Department: Quantum Technologies
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: 01793 444526

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Amanda Howes
Job title: Portfolio Manager
Department: Quantum Technologies
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: 01793 444447

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Helen Hunt
Job title: Senior Portfolio Manager
Department: Quantum Technologies
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: 01793 444026