ColdQuanta UK is a subsidiary of ColdQuanta Inc. founded in 2014 to provide cold atom components, systems, and expertise to the rapidly growing UK quantum technology sector. It is based at the Oxford Centre for Innovation, home to 200+ entrepreneurs working in science and tech start-ups.
ColdQuanta UK is focused primarily on three areas of quantum system development: commercial cold atom subsystems, ion trap miniaturisation, and quantum inertial sensors. The team is currently working on three major quantum development efforts, based on recent contract awards partially funded by the UK government:
High-BIAS2: Development of a quantum gyroscope that will be demonstrated in flight
QT-Assemble: Development of technology that will enable continuous operation of quantum sensors
PICAS2: Working with partners on an updated system to improve the integration of lasers into quantum atomic systems
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The High-BIAS2 project will develop a gyroscope with the stability to allow vehicle navigation without a GPS/GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signal. The gyroscope will be tested in flight to validate its use for aerospace applications.
The key objective is to demonstrate a significant advancement, both commercially and socially, in aerospace sector navigation by use of quantum technology. Once widely adapted, quantum-stabilised commercial navigation systems will be hardened against signal loss, jamming. and spoofing. The added resistance to external tampering or signal degradation will mark a significant improvement to the safety and reliability of commercial shipping, air travel, and defence.
High-BIAS2 leverages ColdQuanta’s compact, integrated, cold atom source technology, developed with partial support from the UK government. The source technology is a key subsystem for many quantum technologies such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and full inertial measurement units (IMUs).
Quantum technologies, such as quantum sensors and quantum information processing, have the prospect to change society by offering unprecedented levels of sensitivity, security and computational power. There have been many impressive demonstrations in the last five years as a result of global efforts to realise these benefits. However, many challenges remain.
The QT-Assemble project, led by Fraunhofer’s Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP), will make quantum technology easier to adopt by addressing the challenges of size, weight, power, and reliability of systems. The aim is to unlock new markets for the UK in applications such as navigation (situational awareness), communications, and computing through the development of a supply chain of reliable integrated components and sub-systems.
The ColdQuanta work will deliver technology to provide continuous production of ultracold atoms for sensing and other quantum applications.
Cold atoms are at the heart of many emerging commercial quantum technologies. Most applications require a high-flux cold atom source. It is a complex and critical element of cold matter systems used for applications such as gravity surveying, atomic clocks, magnetic and electric sensors, navigation, and quantum information systems.
The lack of a commercial complete source system at a moderate size and price point is a fundamental barrier to the expansion of atomic quantum technology into deployed applications. ColdQuanta and its partners will develop a commercially-available complete high-flux cold atom source system with uniquely low size and cost. The small size and low cost of our approach will turn the entire source system into a module that can be easily added to, or removed from, a more complex system in a modular manner. This simplifies research and development, aids in system integration, and eases maintenance.
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