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UKNQT Hubs

As part of the £270 million investment of the UK national quantum technologies programme, EPSRC funded a national network of Quantum Technology Hubs. This was a £120 million investment in four hubs that will explore the properties of quantum mechanics and how they can be harnessed for use in technology.

The network started in December 2014 and initially involves 17 universities and 132 companies. The four hubs were selected after a competitive peer review process and are led by the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York.

UK National Quantum Technology Hub

This hub incorporates the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Nottingham, Southampton, Strathclyde, and Sussex.

It aims to develop a range of quantum sensor and measurement technologies that are ripe for commercialisation by UK businesses.

Alongside this, it is also looking to train people working within the UK quantum technology community.

Quantum sensors have the potential to be cheaper, lighter, smaller, more sensitive and more energy-efficient than existing, classical sensors. Advances in this area have applications across the board, from healthcare to navigation, to archaeology, and everything in between.

If you have a suggestion of how your business could develop or work with the hub’s prototype technologies, you can bid into their £5.2 million partnership fund. They also have Technology Translation and Prototyping Centres where you can work alongside them - sharing ideas, expertise and facilities.

The application areas they are looking into include (but are not limited to): defence, geophysics, medical diagnostics, construction, naval navigation, data storage masters, health monitoring, gaming interfaces, GPS replacement, data storage products, local network timing, and gravity imaging.

There is also a UK National Quantum Technology Hub flyer available for more information.


Quantic - Quantum Imaging Centre

This hub is led by the University of Glasgow and incorporates the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Oxford, and Strathclyde.

It is working closely with industry to develop exciting new types of ultra-high sensitivity cameras with capabilities far beyond the current state-of-the-art. This includes improving existing imaging systems through quantum technologies.

Applications of quantum cameras include visualising gas leaks, seeing through smoke, and even looking round corners or underneath our skin.

The hub is working on a dazzling range of quantum imaging techniques that its current industry partners have helped them to identify as being of potential commercial use. These include single-photon visible and infrared cameras, single-pixel cameras, extreme time-resolution imaging, 3D profiling, hyper-spectral, ultra-low flux covert illumination, imaging beyond line-of-sight, and imaging of local gravity fields.

The Glasgow hub has a £4 million ‘Partnership Resource’ which you can bid into if you have a quantum imaging idea that you think could benefit the UK economy. They can potentially support your small-scale proof-of-concept projects, as well as longer projects to develop technology demonstrators and translation to market.

Within this hub you can also apply for access to the £3 million Scottish Funding Council “innovation space” whereby businesses can physically work alongside academic teams to develop demonstrators into prototypes.

There is also a Quantic flyer available for more information.


NQIT

NQIT (pronounced “N-kit”, and short for Networked Quantum Information Technologies) is led by the University of Oxford and incorporates the universities of Bath, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Southampton, Strathclyde, Sussex, and Warwick.

This hub is working towards networked quantum information technologies that will put today’s supercomputers to shame in terms of the complexity of task they can execute and their processing speed. They will literally make the impossible, possible.

It is focussed on creating systems that can be connected to each other to form flexible, scalable solutions for a huge range of applications, such as accelerating drug development, analysing “Big Data”, ultra-fast generation of quantum random numbers, secure communication between many parties, and enhanced distributed sensing.

The flagship project within this hub is the Q20:20 quantum engine. This is a network of 20 quantum processors (each processor contains 20 matter qubits) that share information via light. It is a hugely complex and powerful design that the hub is confident will put the UK at the very forefront of quantum computing and simulation.

Scientists working within this hub hold world records for best quantum control, both in matter and in photon systems (99.9999% fidelity ion qubit manipulation; single photons of the highest purity) so they are raring to go in terms of delivering commercially-viable, robust, scalable technologies in computing, communications, and sensors.

This hub is very keen to hear from UK industry on existing and potential markets for their world-leading technologies.

There is also a NQIT flyer available for more information.


Quantum Communications Hub

This hub is led by the University of York and includes the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Heriot-Watt, Leeds, Royal Holloway, Sheffield, and Strathclyde. Quantum communications technologies have potential use in a wide range of functions and applications where security is vital: from encryption of communications, passwords and identification, to financial transactions.

The hub has a particular focus on quantum key distribution (QKD) - one of the most mature quantum technologies, and one which is considered especially promising for early commercialisation.

The hub is working towards market-ready technologies, exploring ways of making smaller, lower-cost devices which can be integrated into existing systems and infrastructure. Initial developments include the chip-scale integration of QKD. This will facilitate QKD modules for use in a range of devices where quantum-secure communications are desirable. One such application would be for secure mobile banking, where a device, e.g. a suitably enhanced mobile phone, would undertake secure transactions with a service provider – e.g. a bank through an ATM.

This hub is also building the UK’s first Quantum Network. This will provide access to quantum secure communications on different scales: within buildings, within cities, and between cities. The network will be a test-bed, enabling researchers and companies to develop, trial, and demonstrate technologies and applications.

The Quantum Communications Hub welcomes discussion with companies in a position to collaborate or participate – in tests and demonstrations as well as early adoption of the technology.

There is also a Quantum Communications Hub flyer available for more information.