National Quantum Technologies Showcase

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November 3rd was the 2016 National Quantum Technologies Showcase, held at the QEII Centre in Westminster, London. This one-day showcase event highlighted the exciting new quantum technologies that are being developed by the Quantum Technology Hubs and our industrial partners.

Following on from the success of the first national quantum technologies showcase last year, the 2016 event highlighted the relationship with industry and the UK National Quantum Technology Programme’s potential for the creation of new markets and economic benefit.

The Showcase received over 600 registrations from industry, academia and government, and had thirty nine exhibits demonstrating the collaborative nature of the programme involving academia, industry and government partners and included demonstrators from a range of investments made as part of the National Programme including the Quantum Technology Hubs, Industry and the National Physical Laboratory.

NQIT had demonstrations from across our academic partners, showing our ion trap technology, our photonics work on wavelength conversion and spin-out technology to develop a magnetometer based on our diamond NV-centre work.

Prof Winfried Hensinger and his group from the University of Sussex presented their work on microwave ion traps:

"Trapped atomic ions make ideal quantum bits which can be used to perform processing tasks in a similar way to transistors in traditional computers, but exponentially faster. Using the unique quantum feature of superposition, a quantum bit can be simultaneously in the ‘off’ (0) or ‘on’ (1) state. This exhibit allows anyone to take control of a single ion in the Ion Quantum Technology laboratory at Sussex remotely. They can control the position of the ion in real time and also manipulate the state of the encoded quantum bit to perform a 'quantum coin' experiment.

We are also showcasing various complex microfabricated ion trap chips which are expected to be a key component in a trapped-ion quantum computer, plus demonstrating the complex fabrication steps required to arrive at ion trap chips using detailed 3D models.

Lastly, we have a detailed model of a scalable trapped-ion quantum computer module as well as a video fly-through of a large scale quantum computer illustrating the key technologies required for such a device."

Dr James Gates and his colleagues from the University of Southampton demonstrated their work on wavelength conversion:

"Optical fibres provide a standard platform which can also be used for quantum communications. We are developing the optical system for the entanglement of the optical signals from the ion trap nodes. By working with the SME Covesion we are also engineering crystals to convert blue light from the traps/nodes to infrared light that can be sent over long distances."

Dr Gavin Morley and his team from the University of Warwick demonstrated a working prototype of a magnetic field sensor using a pink diamond:

"When we shine green light onto the diamond, atom-sized colour centres that we have added give out red light: florescence. These colour centres have an electron spin which is like a tiny compass needle. The amount of florescence depends on the state of the electron spin and we use magnetic resonance to flip the direction of these spins. 

We are working with Bruker to see if we could build a medical scanner that detects the tiny magnetic fields given off by people’s hearts and brains."

The Showcase event saw the launch of the Blackett review 'Quantum Age: technological opportunities', a report by the Government Office for Science exploring how the UK could benefit from the research, development, and commercialisation of quantum technologies. This review, led by Sir Mark Walport, the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, concludes with eleven recommendations for the future of quantum technologies in the UK, stating that "there is a strong case for continuing the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme to maintain our world-leading position in a promising and now globally emerging area of technology."

The Quantum Technologies Showcase was also used to announce the winning bids for funding from the UK Quantum Technologies Innovation Fund.

Many thanks to all the researchers and staff, in NQIT and across the UK National Quantum Technology Programme, who put in so much time and effort in preparation for the Quantum Technologies Showcase and helped it to become such a successful event.

More photos of the day will be posted here soon.

Diana Prado Lopes Aude Craik explains her ion trap research
University of Warwick researchers demonstrating their diamond magnetometer at the Quantum Technology Showcase 2016 in Westminster. From left: Ben Green, Ben Breeze, Matt Dale and Gavin Morley.