MCLAREN: Miniaturised Cold Atom Gravimeter for Space Applications

Lead Participant: M-Squared Lasers Limited


The project aims to develop a compact cold atom gravimeter and identify routes to development for a space-deployable system. Space-based high precision gravimetry as offered by cold atom approaches is an emerging key enabling technology for a range of markets dependent on Earth observation. Furthermore gravimetry has a broad number of terrestrial applications from underground surveying to locating oil and mineral deposits. Although the levels of precision of cold atom gravimetry have been demonstrated, in comparison to current gravimeters the most prominent drawback is the systems size weight and power (SWaP) characteristics. SWaP requirements are seen as the key roadblock in the wider adoption of cold atom gravimeters, despite having a multitude of advantages over existing solutions. This project brings together routes to miniaturised, compact and space deployable subsystems to yield a compact cold atom gravimeter demonstrator. In 2016 flooding caused £1.6bn of damage, and accurate flood prediction could have avoided some of these costs and associated stress of losing homes. Accurate location of underground infrastructure could reduce traffic congestion that costs the UK £4.6bn per year.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

M-Squared Lasers Limited, Maryhill Road £504,474 £ 302,684


University of St Andrews, United Kingdom £202,234
Clyde Space Limited £29,839 £ 17,903
The Science and Technology Facilities Council £669,946
Coldquanta UK Limited, Warwick £365,610 £ 255,927
Magnetic Shields Limited £150,284 £ 105,199


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