£28m funding boost for QuantIC research collaboration

Researchers from the School of Engineering are part of a pan-University research hub for quantum-enhanced imaging systems, which just received a £28m funding boost from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Chancellor’s Fellow in Electronics Dr Danial Chitnis and Professor Robert Henderson from the School’s Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS), are members of the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (QuantIC) which received the funding.

Led by the University of Glasgow, QuantIC brings together the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Exeter, Heriot-Watt, Imperial College, Strathclyde and Southampton with industrial partners from across the UK.

Government announcement

The funding boost was announced yesterday by Science Minister Chris Skidmore, and forms part of a £94m programme of government support for the National Quantum Technologies Programme.

The funding will allow QuantIC to continue its research, build on existing relationships with industry, and develop new partnerships.

Quantum innovations

QuantIC was established in 2014 to pioneer new ways to make ‘the invisible visible’ using quantum technologies.

The hub’s major research successes to date include the development of QuantiCAM, a digital camera which captures photons 10,000 times faster than conventional cameras, and cameras capable of novel imaging feats including looking around corners and seeing clearly through smoke.

A portable gravity imager capable of measuring ‘earth tides’ – which are subtle changes in the earth around us – has also attracted significant industrial interest for use in space, civil engineering and environmental monitoring.

Commercial spin-outs

QuantIC has also incubated three spinout companies so far:

  • QLM, which has developed a drone mounted quantum sensing solution capable of remotely detecting and quantifying minute methane leaks
  • Raycal, which provides consulting services in the area of quantum technologies, with a special focus on imaging and metrology
  • Sequestim, which aims to commercialise the next generation of terahertz imaging technology for security screening applications

Next leap forward

Over the next five years, QuantIC will continue to develop revolutionary imaging systems for a range of applications, such as the ability to see directly inside the human body, the ability to see through fog and smoke, to make microscopes with higher resolution and lower noise than classical physics allows, and quantum radars that cannot be jammed or confused by other radars around them.

UK Research and Innovation’s Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport commented: “The UK is leading the field in developing Quantum Technologies and this new investment will help us make the next leap forward in the drive to link discoveries to innovative applications. UKRI is committed to ensuring the best research and researchers are supported in this area.”

Dr Chitnis added that the second phase of QuantIC will enable “new scientific discoveries and industrial applications in areas including healthcare, transport and security with collaboration with colleagues across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Find out more