QuantIC, the University of Glasgow- led quantum imaging hub, is supporting quantum science out of the research lab and into the commercial world. With applications in healthcare, security, energy and defence, QuantIC is giving the UK a head start in the international race to industrialise quantum technologies.

As part of the £270M investment of UK National Technologies Programme (UKNQTP), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded a national network of four Quantum Technologies Hubs across the UK. QuantIC is the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging. It brings together more than 120 full time researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Oxford, Strathclyde and Warwick with more than 40 industry partners.

High-impact research projects led by QuantIC or its company partners include:
  • Wee-g ultra-sensitive gravity imager –the Wee-g gravimeter was developed by researchers at QuantIC, and Kelvin Nanotechnology is now developing a robust and repeatable manufacturing process, an essential step to commercialisation.
  • Next generation cameras – QuantIC is developing a single-pixel camera that can look around corners, and next generation cameras that can visualise toxic invisible gases or buried bombs, look under the skin for tumours, and see clearly through smoke.

Sensing solutions
The GasSight project, led by Glasgow-based company M Squared Lasers, is exploring use of active illumination for remote sensing and spectroscopy in combination with QuantIC’s single pixel camera technology, to provide imaging solutions for the global gas sensing market.

QuantIC researchers in collaboration with Scottish SME Gas Sensing Solutions are developing mid-infrared sensors at the JWNC based on antimonide minerals; it is anticipated that this will open up new applications in biological imaging, security and sensing.

Fluorescence imaging system

Horiba Scientific, another Glasgow-based company working with QuantIC, have incorporated QuantIC’s QuantiCAM SPAD sensor into their existing fluorescence imaging system to develop the new wide field imaging system, “FLIMERA” which will open up new imaging applications for the life sciences sector.

The University of Strathclyde is the only British academic partner in all four of the UK Quantum Technology Hubs. Photonics and quantum technologies are key research themes of the university’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) zone, which forms the heart of the Glasgow City Innovation District.

The physics department’s Institute of Photonics, based in the TIC, combines academic research excellence with strong industrial engagement. Its work in solid state lasers and non-linear optics led to the creation of innovative laser companies, whose products have opened up applications in biomedical imaging, security, defence, pollution monitoring, material processing and fundamental spectroscopy. M Squared, for example, supported the first demonstration of unconditional and fully deterministic quantum teleportation! Coherent Scotland Ltd, which developed from Strathclyde spin-out Microlase, maintains a significant facility in Glasgow developing ultra-short pulse laser systems.

In recognition of the work of the Institute of Photonics and its laser companies, the University of Strathclyde was selected as the host for the UK’s first Fraunhofer research centre ─ the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Fraunhofer-CAP ─ in 2012. The university also has links with the Stanford Photonics Research Centre in California, further highlighting an international dimension to the growth and development in photonics.
The University of Strathclyde also supports aspects of smart grid innovation, aiding future delivery of secure, affordable low carbon energy. The Institute for Energy and Environment plays a key role in national and international consortia, and has strong collaborations with industry across major initiatives. Comprising one of the largest electrical power academic research groups in Europe; it has 270 staff including 34 academics. Several spin-out companies (including Smarter Grid Solutions, Bellrock Technology and Synaptec) have been created to take the new technologies to the marketplace.

The Universities world-class facilities include experimental laboratories in the TIC and the innovative and industry-friendly Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in Cumbernauld.

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