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University of Strathclyde to host new quantum research center

02 Sep 2019

Photonics and quantum technology development firm M Squared is opening a quantum research facility in Glasgow, Scotland.

The newly opened M Squared Quantum Technologies Centre based in the University of Strathclyde’s Inovo building in Glasgow's City Innovation District, will be instrumental to the enhancement of the firm’s ability to compete globally in the commercialisation of quantum technologies.

M Squared said at the opening last week that it will focus on "the development of many new technologies that take advantage of the behaviour of atomic-scale physics, including quantum sensors for measuring gravity and acceleration, quantum clocks and quantum computers."

Derek Mackay, the Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary, was given a tour of the facility, which will host a team of 50, by M Squared co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE. Mackay was shown a variety of equipment the company is using and developing, including:

  • The UK’s first commercial quantum gravimeter, which measures tiny, localised variations in the Earth’s gravitational field caused by underground objects.
  • The UK’s first commercial quantum accelerometer, which measures how an object’s velocity changes over time and could allow for navigation without relying on satellites.
  • A strontium lattice atomic clock – that could facilitate satellite-free navigation, financial time-stamping and deep-space navigation.
  • An advanced laser system for quantum computing, which is described by M Squared as "pushing the limits of quantum information technologies that will solve complex problems beyond today’s capabilities."

Scotland’s photonics capabilities

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay commented, “I am pleased to officially open the new M-Squared Quantum Centre at the University of Strathclyde. This center builds on Scotland’s existing photonics capability and signals our intent to become a significant player in the development of quantum technologies that will benefit our economy.

“Our economic development agency Scottish Enterprise recently awarded a £2.9 million R&D grant to M Squared to help accelerate their cutting-edge research. As part of their £7 million investment project, our grant will support 24 new jobs, help realise Scotland’s quantum potential, and enhance our ability to compete globally.”

Dr. Malcolm said, “We are on the verge of a second quantum revolution whereby the counter-intuitive behaviour of physics at the atomic scale will be harnessed to create the defining technological advances of the future.

“M Squared’s new research facility will play a huge role in advancing quantum physics-based technology and our ability to apply it to benefit society.”

Competitive advantage

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said, “We are delighted to host this cutting-edge research centre within Glasgow City Innovation District at the University of Strathclyde. By choosing to locate here, M Squared gains access to the internationally-leading research of the University and collaborative opportunities with other innovative companies.”

Glasgow City Innovation District is transforming the way academia, business and industry collaborate to bring competitive advantage to Scotland. The growing Technology and Innovation Centre Zone at the heart of the District features quantum technology as a key shared research focus and is drawing in a host of UK and international companies and organisations.

Strathclyde is the only university which is a partner in all four of the Quantum Technology Hubs created as part of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme. The University has also attracted the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics – the only Fraunhofer research centre in the UK – and Fraunhofer UK’s headquarters to Glasgow.

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