M Squared and Imperial College London have demonstrated the UK’s first quantum accelerometer at the 2018 National Quantum Technologies Showcase.
The quantum ‘compass’ represents a major breakthrough for British science and the UK’s ability to commercialise quantum technology.
“This commercially viable quantum device will put the UK at the heart of the coming quantum age,” said Dr Graeme Malcom, M Squared’s founder and CEO. “The collaborative efforts to realise the potential of quantum navigation illustrate Britain’s unique strength in bringing together industry and academic – building on advancements at the frontier of science, out of the laboratory to create real-world applications for the betterment of society.”
The device works by tracking movement with extreme precision, providing a pinpoint method of navigation that doesn’t rely on satellites, which are susceptible to being hacked, jammed or interfered with. It does this by measuring tiny shifts in rubidium atoms cooled to almost absolute zero, which can tell you reliably and precisely where you are, anywhere in the world.
Real-world applications for the device could first be seen in the shipping world, as it offers a solution to some of the issues presented by GPS navigation.
The news was held up as example of where “British scientific ingenuity can lead international technological advance”, with the prototype hailed as a major breakthrough by the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, Forbes, Fortune, The Scotsman, The Register and ZDNet.
See Professor Ed Hinds, Director of the Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College London, discussing the breakthrough below.