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21 November, 2018 - 12:15 By Kate Sweeney

Quantum leap: £20m to ensure prototype devices are ready in two years

Advancements in quantum technologies are predicted to have a big impact on our lives – from creating navigation systems that can operate without GPS to new cameras that can see around corners.

To help accelerate progress in this field, the Government is funding four projects that will use the latest quantum technology to develop prototype devices – and three of them are driven from the East of England. They are in the fields of precise timing, secure encryption and data security.

Manufacturer Teledyne e2V (UK) based in Chelmsford will lead a project to develop a pre-production prototype of a miniature atomic clock.

It will enable services such as energy supply, transport and mobile communications to function in the event of disruption to the current standard timing service, Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

Cambridge Science Park-based Toshiba Research Europe will lead a project to develop the UK supply of low-cost integrated chips, which will enable more secure transmission of data using new encryption technologies.

Another encryption project will be led by Bedford-headquartered ArQit Ltd. It will create advanced receivers to pick up quantum key signals. These keys are used to keep data safe by using quantum technology to let companies know if the data they are transmitting has been accessed.

The projects will receive a share of £20 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, delivered by UK Research and Innovation.

It follows the Chancellor’s announcement of up to £235m of further support to develop the next generation of transformative quantum technologies in the Budget 2018. This includes a new national quantum computing centre, additional investment in the next wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and a training and skills package.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “There is a huge future for cutting-edge science in the UK, which is why we are investing in ambitious technologies like quantum in our modern Industrial Strategy.

“The projects announced today will benefit ordinary people around the country, from easing traffic congestion to offering more data security for online transactions.

“Quantum technology has already developed sensors that can see around corners, and make the impossible, possible. We are backing world-leading innovators to continue this important work.”
 

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