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UK Innovate grant for quantum technologies

UCL, LCN and NPL to explore commercial applications

A consortium of researchers from UCL, Glasgow University and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have been award a grant from the UK Innovate under an initiative to explore the commercial applications of quantum technologies. The project will develop a compact, cryogenic readout for superconducting single photon detector (SSPD) arrays and assess their suitability for commercialisation. The readout will be based on a superconducting single flux quantum (SFQ) circuit where an input signal is converted into a series of quantised pulses that can be used for digital signal processing. SSPD arrays have many applications; as a fast, high efficiency, low noise detector for quantum key distribution, as a component in quantum computing and for enhanced quantum imaging. The major hurdle to commercialisation of SSPD array systems is the lack of suitable readout electronics able to process a large number of signals without significant heat loading of the detector cold stage.

The research that will be carried out at UCL will be led by Dr Edward Romans from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN). It will involve the fabrication of the superconducting readout circuitry using UCL’s state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities. These devices will be tested and evaluated by NPL, and eventually integrated with SSPD devices supplied by project partners from Glasgow University.