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Fraunhofer CAP leads £10m drive to progress optical-quantum technology

18 Sep 2020

QT Assemble project to focus on device improvements with waveguide writing and monolithic integration.

The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) in Glasgow, part of Fraunhofer UK, is leading an ambitious, collaborative drive to make quantum technology easier to adopt.

The project, known as QT Assemble, is designed to address the challenges of size, weight, power and reliability through the use of innovative manufacturing processes such as waveguide writing, nanoscale alignment and monolithic integration.

The CAP will work in partnership with 13 organisations from across the UK: the University of Strathclyde, INEX Microtechnology, the University of Southampton, PowerPhotonic, G&H Torquay, Photon Force, ColdQuanta UK, UniKLasers, Covesion, RedWave Labs, Caledonian Photonics, Alter Technology TÜV Nord UK and AegiQ.

The aim is to enable the wider adoption of QT by producing miniature, integrated devices such as lasers and photon sources, detectors and sources of cold atoms. The project is analogous to the challenge that electronics faced in moving from large discrete components, such as valves, to thumbnail units with ubiquitous applications.

As well as widening opportunities in existing markets, such as navigation and situational awareness, communications and computing, the group hopes its work will open up new markets.

The project is funded by the UK Quantum Technologies Challenge led by UK Research and Innovation. It is part of a wider package delivered through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, which is set to make a £1 billion investment over its lifetime.

‘Quantum revolution’

Simon Andrews, Executive Director of Fraunhofer UK Research said, “This collaboration will revolutionise quantum technology and take it to another level of practicality. That sheer scale of the dimensions with which we are working is extremely exciting and we are delighted to be part of creating an advanced supply chain for a key technology which plays an increasingly significant role in our everyday lives.”

Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for the UK Quantum Technologies Challenge added, “This is an outstanding team with – in Fraunhofer CAP – a skilled leader. The assembly and integration processes addressed by this project are not only essential for the creation of new quantum products but are rich in the know-how through which the UK will establish a strong internationally competitive position.”

The Fraunhofer CAP is involved in a wide range of photonics applications including energy, security, environment, sensing, space, lifesciences and quantum technologies. Its core competencies extend from applied research and development through to design, testing and characterisation of systems and modules as well as building pre-production prototypes.

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