Fiber Optics for Quantum Technology Research

5 December 2016

Back in September 2015 we reported on our work with cold atom technology on the FreezeRay project. Now, just over a year later, we’re happy to say that Gooch & Housego have successfully won funding for involvement in two further programs,  CASPA and REVEAL, in a competition for the commercialization of quantum technologies. The contest is supported by Innovate UK and the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

CubeSat fitcheckCASPA (Cold Atom Space Payload) has the aim of developing a payload compatible with CubeSat and capable of producing cold atoms in space. As with all such projects, we are breaking new ground here and an effective demonstration of the prototype system – in this instance space will be the crucial first step towards commercializing instrumentation systems capable of recording minuscule changes in the earth’s gravitational strength. Such changes when mapped across the earth’s surface have the potential to be used in resource exploration or to geo-monitoring of polar ice mass, ocean currents and sea level changes.

CASPA will also evaluate the viability of using the technology in the provision of higher precision timing sources for next generation global positioning system (GPS) and also for deep space navigation. The program partners are e2v technologies Ltd, ClydeSpace, XCAM, Covesion, the University of Birmingham and the University of Southampton.

The objective of the REVEAL program is the development of a quantum gravity sensor based on a cold atom interferometer. The plan being to use it for underground surveying in civil engineering projects. The program partners are e2v technologies Ltd, RSK and the University of Birmingham.

The award of funding was made at the UK National Quantum Technologies (QT) conference. G&H shared a stand with partners e2v and the University of Birmingham. We exhibited a cold atom rubidium magneto-optical trap (Rb MOT) developed in aforementioned FreezeRay project – also supported by Innovate UK

All three projects are examples of how fiber laser technology has practical applications in the technologies of tomorrow. It’s early days for cold atom technology but these projects show the applications are not limited to the laboratory. Our Torquay based Systems Technology Group (STG) is behind many of our applied R&D programs. In addition to cold atom technology, they are also working on the next generation systems for OCT and space communications.

For more information on cold atom technology and its application, email us at