COALESCe - COmpAct Light Engines for Strontium Clocks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Inst of Photonics

Abstract

A large number of applications, including those in research, defence, and finance require compact optical clocks that retain
their accuracy and reliability for lower costs and footprints than existing systems. Optical clocks are capable of better
stability and lower uncertainty than the current standard of time; however, each clock requires a range of lasers with
demanding requirements specific to the atomic species at the heart of the clock. Neutral strontium is one of the most
widely used atoms. It has a key transition that must be addressed using a laser source with emission wavelength at 461nm,
power >1W and linewidth (spectral purity) <32MHz. Currently researchers must use expensive or inadequate laser
sources to meet these requirements. In this project we will meet all the above requirements of neutral strontium in a low
cost, compact system based on semiconductor disk laser (SDL) technology. The advantageous properties of SDLs for
tunable, narrow linewidth operation have previously been demonstrated in the laboratory; however, their potential to
address wavelengths of interest for optical clocks, and moreover to achieve this in a compact commercial format, have yet
to be realised. We will engineer a stabilised, narrow linewidth 922nm SDL with frequency doubling to 461nm within the
cost and volume parameters required for strontium optical clock-based systems to emerge from the research laboratory
and address applications in the field.

Planned Impact

The following groups will be amongst the main beneficiaries of this project, with impact in the scientific community, the
economic sector, the military, and society:
Academic community working in quantum science and spectroscopy (scientific) - see 'Academic Beneficiaries'.
Nascent quantum technology industry (scientific, economic, society) - The UK has set the challenge for the
commercialisation of quantum technology. This will only be achieved through the development of a supply chain for the
key components, such as the laser systems to be developed and marketed as a result of this project. The consortium will
engage with the quantum technology community to ensure compatibility of the laser system for integration.
Satellite-free navigation (military) - Portable and accurate clocks are required to improve the navigational accuracy of
submarines, currently ~2km accuracy over 24 hours, to around 100m over months. This will be achieved with the
implementation of compact and robust optical clock systems enabled by these laser sources.
Finance sector (economic, society) - Latencies within electronic trading platforms lead to significant losses, e.g. a
microsecond of latency can lead to losses of several million $. The development of accurate, cost effective, and practical
optical clock systems, enabled by these laser sources, is expected to lead to their wide application in stock exchanges
around the world.
Collaboration and exploitation:
This project will build on the successful working relationship between the Institute of Photonics (IoP), the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, and M Squared Lasers Ltd, and expand its scope to encompass the IoP's pioneering research in the
field of semiconductor disk lasers supported by previous and current EPSRC grants. This project will transfer the
knowledge and skills of these leading research groups to industry, strengthen industry access to an established academic
network, and thus enhance the expertise and reach of a rapidly growing UK company. Similarly, this project will expose the
academics of the IoP to the requirements of industry in a highly relevant sector, thus informing the direction of future
applied research.
This consortium will enable a UK company (M Squared) to be the first to market with a core component for quantum
technology. Following the developments in this project, M Squared will commercialise and manufacture the lasers in
Glasgow and market them via their established sales and marketing channels across Europe, Asia and the US. The
quantum technology research community has been identified as an early route for exploitation. Particularly in the UK, this
community has the parallel objective, supported by the EPSRC Quantum Technology Hub initiative, to develop commercial
quantum technology systems. The lasers developed by this consortium will form a key component of the supply chain
necessary to achieve this goal and ensure the impact of the Hubs.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This was an Innovate UK project, led by M Squared Lasers with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and our group at the University of Strathclyde as partners. As the academic partner in the project, our main objective was to see the successful transfer of our high coherence semiconductor laser research through to industry.

Our research in this area was primarily developed over the course of an EPSRC Challenging Engineering Award and this project has allowed us to increase the impact of this research and enable a significant step towards UK commercialisation that we would not otherwise have been able to achieve.

The laser performance objectives, defined in collaboration with M Squared Lasers Ltd in order to meet the requirements of quantum technologies, were met by the end of the project.

In addition we have been able to strengthen our engagement with industry, better understand industry requirements, and have created opportunities for further technology transfer and impact from our related publicly-funded research in this area beyond the lifetime of this project.
Exploitation Route This project has led directly to a second Innovate award with Fraunhofer CAP, led by M Squared Lasers Ltd, and the partners are already discussing opportunities for transfer of some of the other laser technology developed by our group. The objective of M Squared Lasers Ltd is to develop a laser product based on this technology for academics and industry working in the area of quantum technology.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

 
Description This project was led by laser company M Squared Lasers Ltd who will use the findings of this work in their development of laser products of quantum technology applications. Benefits are therefore expected for UK laser industry and other UK industries that benefit from developments in the laser supply chain.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic

 
Description COCLES - Technology Strategy Board: Accelerating the Commercial Exploitation of Quantum Technologies
Amount £206,559 (GBP)
Funding ID 102667 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description Attendance and presentation at the Quantum Technology Hub Industry Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact David Paboeuf attended the event: "Quantum Sensors - Opportunities and applications for industry" hosted by the UK National Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology at the University of Birmingham. David presented a poster to the industry attendees, summarising the research of the Hastie group at the University of Strathclyde under the the Technology Hub and the Innovate project COALESCe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2016
 
Description Lasers for Quantum Technology Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop has the aim of bringing together the UK quantum technology community to discuss the laser requirements for the UK Quantum Technology Programme and also advertise to the UK Quantum Technology community the laser research presently being undertaken in the four Quantum Technology Hubs. The event has the aim of developing a roadmap for lasers in quantum technology for the UK Quantum Technology programme. The aim is to also link the work and requirements to UK industry to aid the translation and development of the laser systems required for key Quantum Technology applications in the UK programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Participation in the EPSRC Quantum Technology Visit to the University of Strathclyde 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Participated in the meeting with the EPSRC Quantum Technology team and presented the research of the group in the area of narrow linewidth lasers for quantum technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Participation in the National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented an exhibit at the National Quantum Technologies Showcase on "Semiconductor disk lasers for quantum technologies." Presented the semiconductor disk laser technology and the research work developed at Universities of Strathclyde and Southampton under the UK National Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology. Also highlighted the technology transfer, carried out in partnership with the Fraunhofer Centre of Applied Photonics, to industry partners, like M Squared Lasers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Participation in the National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented an exhibit at the National Quantum Technologies Showcase on "Semiconductor disk lasers for quantum technologies." Presented the semiconductor disk laser technology and the research work developed at the Universities of Strathclyde and Southampton under the UK National Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology. Also highlighted the technology transfer carried out in partnership with the Fraunhofer Centre of Applied Photonics, to industry partners like M Squared Lasers Ltd.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Participation in the Strathclyde Symposium on Quantum Information, Simulation and Metrology 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Attendance at the Strathclyde Symposium on Quantum Information, Simulation and Metrology, an informal workshop in the next generation quantum technologies carried out across the Institute of Photonics and Optics divisions at Strathclyde. Group member David Paboeuf presented a poster on the research of the group in the area of narrow linewidth semiconductor lasers for quantum technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Participation in the Strathclyde and Nanyang Technological University Industry Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation in the Strathclyde-NTU-Industry Symposium, "Innovation and Impact: How Global Research Partnerships can Power Successful Technological Economies". Presented the research and knowledge transfer activities of our group in the area of narrow linewidth semiconductor lasers for quantum technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016