Exploring the Quantum Advantage in the Calibration of Inertial Sensors

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Physics


Inertial sensors form the backbone of all modern navigation systems. Ultra-precise gyroscopes and accelerometers that utilise quantum interference effects are currently being developed. These sensors offer a step change in the accuracy of future navigation systems and will provide a means to improve on current geological surveying methods and can allow tests of fundamental physics. To obtain the full benefit of such devices quantum sensors, like current classical systems, must be aligned so as to minimise systematic or cross-coupling errors in their measurements. Classical inertial sensors are normally subjected to a series of calibration tests, where any systematic errors are measured and recorded. The main negative effects of the errors can then be removed by correcting the data that they generate in software. Such calibration tests, require a series of known rotations to be applied in a series of orientations and are known as multiposition tests. They are used to correct for scale variations and static biases for single sensors, and non-orthogonality between different sensors (cross-coupling errors).

This project will explore the generalisation of classical multi-position tests through the use of explicitly quantum input states for the inertial sensors. Preliminary analysis has shown that there can be advantages in using entangled quantum states as part of the calibration of optical gyroscopes [1]. This previous work has demonstrated that a quantum advantage does exist in the calibration of inertial sensors, but this has not been fully explored. This project will develop methods to optimise this quantum advantage and apply them to the practical quantum sensors currently being developed. The principle objective is to provide a quantitative improvement of the accuracy of these quantum inertial sensors through improved calibration procedures.

The project team will benefit from existing collaborations with the University of Sheffield (P. Kok) and the University of Sussex (J. Dunningham) and will develop collaborations with experimental partners in the Quantum Sensing and Metrology Hub.

[1] P. Kok, J. Dunningham, J. F. Ralph, 'The role of entanglement in calibrating optical quantum gyroscopes', Phys. Rev. A 95, 012326/1-10 (2017).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1956374 Studentship EP/N509590/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Luciano Anastassiou
Description A novel simulation of a 'quantum gyroscope' was developed from the ground up using MATLAB. The gyroscope simulates a system consisting of one or more spin-1/2 particles, which are repeatedly probed using 'projective measurements' to give spin up or down results as a time series. The spin up and down results are used to statistically reconstruct the state of the system, which is a process known as quantum state tomography, allowing the angular velocity of the system to be estimated. The simulation was found to demonstrate non-trivial effects in the limit of high numbers of measurements made within a fixed time period. In particular, the more measurements that are taken within a fixed time period, the greater the variance on the measurements will be because the probability encoded into the measurements tends towards 50%, resulting in a maximally random measurement. This research demonstrates that such effects need to be accounted for in any useful gyroscope application, and the timescale of the measurements should be optimised.
Exploitation Route The simulation and the effects demonstrated within the research so far may be used as a springboard for further exploration and collaboration by others interested in this research area of simulated quantum technology. Ultimately this may lead to the outcomes being adapted and tested by an experimental physics group or technology company interested in exploring any of the physical effects demonstrated in this work.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Transport

URL https://conferences.ncl.ac.uk/media/sites/conferencewebsites/northernquantummeetingvi/Final_talks.pdf
Description Northern Quantum Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Northern Quantum Meetings are bi-annual meetings held at Northern UK universities, mostly those in the N8 partnership, for those with research interests in quantum physics and quantum technology. The meetings are a single day event aimed at ECRs and consist of talks throughout the day, one of which is a Keynote speech by an invited speaker. The meetings include the opportunity for postdocs and PhD students to network and share their research. During the studentship, three Northern Quantum Meetings were attended (Leeds Jan 2019, Liverpool July 2019, Newcastle Jan 2020). Acting as a key contact and co-organising the Liverpool meeting was successful in drawing attention to research being done in this group. In addition, a talk was given during attendance of the Newcastle meeting which attracted further interest and questions regarding the research project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://conferences.ncl.ac.uk/nqmvi/
Description Quantum Information, Computing and Control Summer School - Leeds 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Quantum Information, Computing and Control Summer School, held in Leeds in Aug 2019, was organised by CDT students in the Centre for Controlled Quantum Dynamics at Imperial College London. Participants came from several UK universities, along with several international attendees to listen to a week of talks by several invited speakers on quantum information and quantum technology. Participants were also given a chance to present posters during a poster session, which included a poster competition sponsored by the IOP QQQ group.

The introductory lecture was given by Dr Almut Beige, University of Leeds. This was followed with lectures by Prof. Patrick Öhberg (Herriot-Watt University), Prof. Winfried Hensinger (University of Sussex), Dr David Jennings (University of Leeds), a follow up talk by Dr Almut Beige, Prof Sir Peter Knight (Imperial College London), Dr Mehul Malik (Herriot-Watt University), and Prof. Terry Rudolph (Imperial College London and PsiQuantum).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/194032/quicc-summer-school-2019/
Description Research trip (Australia) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A visit was made to research groups in three cities in Australia at the end of October. The goal was to discuss research relating to the PhD project, to network, and to attend talks and discussions by some of the research groups. In particular, meetings were held with Peter Rohde, Nathan Langford and several PhD students at the Centre for Quantum Software and Information, UTS in Sydney, where a brief talk was also given. In Canberra, a meeting was held with John Close and several other researchers, postdocs and PhDs in the Department of Quantum Science, ANU. In Brisbane, a meeting was held with Howard Wiseman and other researchers at the Centre for Quantum Dynamics, Griffith University, which included discussion of research and networking. A separate meeting was also held with Andrew White at the University of Queensland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019