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£10m project to build reliable, thumbnail-sized quantum tech begins

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14 UK organisations, led by the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) in Glasgow, are teaming up to develop faster, more reliable, miniaturised quantum technologies.

Through the project – called the 'QT Assemble: Integrate Quantum Technology Programme' - researchers will be harnessing quantum phenomena to boost the reliability of laser components and systems, while reducing their cost, power consumption, size and weight.

“This collaboration will revolutionise quantum technology and take it to another level of practicality,” said Simon Andrews, executive director of the University of Strathclyde’s CAP. “That sheer scale in the dimensions with which we’re working is extremely exciting and we’re delighted to be part of creating an advanced supply chain for a key technology which plays an increasingly significant role in our everyday lives.”

Dr Michael Strain, who will co-lead the project, said that Strathclyde’s contribution will be based on their capacity to mechanically assemble chip-scale structures “with nanoscale precision”.

According to The Herald, the technologies being pioneered will include miniaturised spectrometers designed to detect the presence of disease biomarkers in exhaled breath. This could provide a rapid, scalable and precise mechanism for tracking pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2.

The project is part of the UK Quantum Technologies Challenge, an effort to make the UK a global leader in the development and application of quantum technologies. The challenge is supported by £153m in government funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and approximately £200m in industrial investment.

Challenge director Roger McKinlay commented: “The assembly and integration processes addressed by this project are not only essential for the creation of new quantum products, but are rich in the know-how through which the UK will establish a strong internationally competitive position.”

The QT Assemble project also involves the University of Southampton, INEX Microtechnology, PowerPhotonic, Gooch and Housego, Photon Force, ColdQuanta UK, UniKLasers, Covesion, RedWave Labs, Caledonian Photonics, Alter Technology Tuv Nord UK and AegiQ. It will continue for three years.

E&T has been following the development of quantum computing.

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