Quantum Science and Device Facility (QSDF)

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics


Quantum mechanics is both mysterious and powerful. At a very fundamental level our world works in a bizarre way that defies our common sense. Tapping in to this bizarre world provides a rich avenue to improve our understanding of the foundations of physics and harnessing this behaviour for the development of powerful new quantum technologies. This project will establish a UK-first facility--the Quantum Science and Device Facility (QSDF)--for researchers to tap into key aspects of the quantum world. More specifically, to cool scientific samples to near absolute zero in temperature and study the quantum properties of materials, superconductors, light-matter interactions, and importantly hybrid devices that utilize the advantages that each of these types of systems provide. We will work with national and international collaborators and partners to realise this vision and we will make the facility available to both empower and harness the potential of the wider UK community. Key examples of the science that can emerge from this facility include: laying the foundations for powerful new types of quantum computers comprising superconducting circuits, and making steps towards a "quantum internet" by developing a microwave-to-optical converter that can link distant superconducting quantum computers via optical fibre.

Planned Impact

Regionally the QSDF will launch millikelvin capabilities at Imperial College London (ICL), boosting its visibility in experimental quantum science and enabling internal and external investments towards the next generation of quantum devices. Existing and future early-career researchers will benefit from state-of-the-art equipment that will attract and maintain skills in areas of increasing importance for quantum devices such as superconducting qubits and quantum optomechanics. The QSDF brings together over 15 academics with expertise in material science (growth and characterisation), microwave circuits, quantum optics, and molecular science, effectively equipping the UK with new capabilities to explore combined platforms at mK temperatures where quantum effects can be leveraged in applications. This will enable co-investigators to take part in new national and international quantum initiatives where the ability to work at millikelvin temperatures plays an increasingly important role. As the QSDF grows it will make an impact on a wide range of users from around the UK, immediately for researchers at Bath, RHUL, and Lancaster, and through links with the London Centre for Nanotechnology pave the way for other external users. In addition, by working closely with international project partners (Microsfot, Max Planck Institute, SeeQC, Australian National University) we will build international connections with industry and research organisations. Since the QSDF priority is to investigate the science underpinning quantum devices in computing, UK society will benefit economically from patents, licensing, and world-leading scientific achievements. These outputs will attract international researchers and funding. We envisage early proof-of-concept results to directly impact companies and organisations (Raytheon, Airbus, DSTL) based in the UK. For instance, prototype microwave-to-optical converters or voltage-controlled quantum limited amplifiers. These organisations will also benefit from PhD students and postdoctoral researchers with training in quantum science and operation of device function and failure analysis at mK temperatures. The international community of researchers and companies will also benefit from scientific discoveries that underpin quantum technology.


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