Monthly Archives: July 2019

The hub will receive £28m from the UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to allow it to continue its research, build on existing relationships with industry, and develop new partnerships over the next five years. QuantIC brings together the Universities of Glasgow, Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde and will also include Exeter, Imperial College London and Southampton in the next phase of activities alongside industrial partners from across the UK. The funding for the second phase of QuantIC’s operations is part of £94m announced today by Science Minister Chris Skidmore in support of the National Quantum Technologies Programme.

QuantIC Phase 2

Since it was established in 2014 as one of four quantum hubs supported by £270m in funding from the UK Government, QuantIC has pioneered new ways to make ‘the invisible visible’ using quantum technologies. Across the consortium, the hub’s major research successes to date include the development of QuantiCAM, a digital camera which captures photons 10,000 times faster than conventional cameras, and cameras capable of novel imaging feats including looking around corners and seeing clearly through smoke. Wee-g, a portable gravity imager capable of measuring ‘earth tides’subtle changes in the earth around us has also attracted significant industrial interest for use in space, civil engineering and environmental monitoring.

Over the next five years, QuantIC will continue to develop revolutionary imaging systems that shift the way imaging occurs, such as the ability to see directly inside the human body, the ability to see through fog and smoke, to make microscopes with higher resolution and lower noise than classical physics allows, and quantum radars that cannot be jammed or confused by other radars around them.
These developments will be enabled by new technologies, such as single-photon cameras, detectors based on new materials and single-photon sensitivity in the mid-infrared spectral regions. Combined with new computational methods, QuantIC will enable UK industry to lead the global imaging revolution.

Professor Steve Beaumont, director of QuantIC said: “We’re pleased to have the support of EPSRC for our second phase of work at QuantIC. We’ve had an enormously successful first five years, making significant technological breakthroughs and forging 39 project partnerships with industry across the UK. We’ve also worked hard to encourage the next generation of pioneering quantum engineers, investing more than half a million pounds in 12 industry-led studentships.”

Professor Miles Padgett, QuantIC’s principal investigator, said: “When QuantIC started up in 2014, we had 30 industry partners. Today, we actively engage with more than 70 companies, an expansion of our user network which we’re immensely proud of. “It shows that there is huge commercial potential for the kind of quantum-enhanced technologies we’re working on. We’re delighted that we’ve received the funding we need to continue helping the UK keep its place on the world stage in cutting-edge research and development.”

The hub was at the world’s leading trade fair for photonics which took place in Munich from 24-27 June and showcased a number of new research technologies as well industrial partnership projects to highlight how joint academic-industry collaboration was leading to commercialisation of new imaging technologies. Exhibits included an automated 3D video surveillance using LED sources with Aralia Systems, a new form of “intelligent” LiDAR with ID Quantique, fresnel cone technology and a new wide field fluorescence imaging camera for microscopy with Horiba which is close to market launch.

Laser Munich 2019

Laurence Broadbent, Senior Development Engineer, who had been invited to exhibit Aralia Systems’ joint partnership resource project with QuantIC said, “We have made a few very useful contacts for the supply chain of the product we are developing, so that has been useful. Interestingly we also met another contact that may be a lead to a product that we are developing outside of the QuantIC project.” QuantIC researcher Dr Neal Radwell who was on the stand demonstrating his fresnel cone technology said, “The event was worthwhile for me, moreso for the interactions I had away from our stand. I have made contacts for manufacturing new devices, which are needed for our current project as well as contacts which might give me ideas for future projects.”

QuantIC also hosted a whisky tasting reception with Photonics Scotland on the stand on 26 June evening, which proved to be a very successful and had some visitors coming back the next day to have more detailed conversations with hub researchers. Laser World of Photonics 2019 saw a record 34,000 visitors which was up from the 32,700 visitors in 2017. There was also an increase in the number of exhibitors, which totalled 1,325 this year.

With a view to increasing its international profile in the next phase of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, QuantIC looks set to be at the next Laser World of Photonics in June 2021.

Professor Robert Hadfield

Robert Hadfield, Professor of Photonics at the University of Glasgow, and QuantIC Co-investigator, has been named as the recipient of the Institute of Physics’ James Joule Medal for distinguished contributions to Applied Physics. The award, named in honour of the English physicist and mathematician, has been presented since 2008 to researchers who have made significant advances in applied physics.

Professor Hadfield is a leading expert in detection of single photons – individual quanta of light – using advanced superconducting detectors. The ability to detect single photons at infrared wavelengths underpins a host of emerging imaging and sensing applications in the quantum technology arena, from secure communications to laser cancer treatment and lies at the heart of QuantIC’s mission of ‘making the invisible visible’.

Working with STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Robert delivered a major demonstrator for QuantIC: a miniaturized 4 Kelvin cooler with integrated superconducting single-photon detectors and is now using the state-of-the art facilities of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University of Glasgow to scale up these devices from single pixels to photon counting cameras. On receiving the award, he said, “I’m delighted to receive the James Joule Medal from the Institute of Physics. Joule’s contributions to science were hugely important, so it’s a huge honour to be associated with him through this award.”

Professor Hadfield will receive the award in person at the Institute’s Annual Awards Dinner later this year.