By harnessing aspects of quantum physics, the UK is set to take a quantum leap and revolutionise markets in communications, computing, navigation, sensing and imaging.
These technologies are the focus of $4 billion worth of strategic investment by leading economies, including £350 million by the UK government, mostly in Scotland!
Quantum technology is an emerging field of physics and engineering, which relies on the principles of quantum physics.
What is quantum physics? Put simply, it’s the physics that explains how everything works: the best description we have of the nature of the particles that make up matter and the forces with which they interact. Quantum physics underlies how atoms work, and so why chemistry and biology work as they do.
Uniquely placed to lead further development of quantum technologies, the expertise of the universities and industry partners has positioned Glasgow as an internationally recognised innovation hub in this field.
The region is a significant contributor to the UK quantum technologies programme, as it looks to become the centre for a new quantum technology supply chain.
The University of Glasgow leads Quant IC – one of the UK’s four Quantum Technology Hubs in quantum-enhanced imaging – which aims to translate quantum imaging science to the marketplace. With a £3 million innovation space to support academic and industrial collaborations, the centre has engaged with 100 companies, 35 of them Scotland-based. QuantIC has a £30+ million grant portfolio, and has secured almost £30m in new funding and support from research grants as well as industry.
The university’s James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) is the source of many micro- and nano-fabricated components in use throughout the UK quantum technology programme, and is a cornerstone of the national capability in this area. JWNC supports a £60 million portfolio of research grants, and engages with over 200 companies worldwide.
The University of Glasgow is working in partnership with Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise to establish the Clyde Waterfront Innovation Campus (CWIC) which will see the expansion of the JWNC and the establishment of a unique innovation ecosystem for developing enabling technologies. This will include co-location laboratories and office space for industry as well as a portfolio of business engagement and support projects targeted at stimulating entrepreneurship, increasing R&D and accelerating innovation.
M Squared, one of the world’s leading quantum technology companies, has opened a new quantum research facility in Glasgow – based in the University of Strathclyde’s Inovo building in Glasgow City Innovation District.
Some of the equipment the facility is using and developing are:
• The UK’s first commercial quantum gravimeter – a device that measures tiny, localised variations in the Earth’s gravitational field caused by underground objects.
• The UK’s first commercial quantum accelerometer – a device that measures how an object’s velocity changes over time and could allow for navigation without relying on satellites.
• A strontium lattice atomic clock – that could facilitate satellite-free navigation, financial time-stamping and deep-space navigation.
• An advanced laser system for quantum computing – pushing the limits of quantum information technologies that will solve complex problems beyond today’s capabilities.
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