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UK Team Wins Funding For Quantum Sensor Project

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CoolBlue2 project to develop next -generation GaN lasers suitable as sources in laser cooled, quantum sensing systems

CST Global, a UK-based III-V foundry, has announced that it will be leading the UK government-funded 'CoolBlue2' (Quantum Cooling using Mode Controlled Blue Lasers) project, with support from commercial partner, Helia Photonics; research partner, National Physical Laboratory; and academic partners, the University of Glasgow and Aston University.

The CoolBlue2 project cost will total £499,076, with government funding of £410,209, of which CST Global will receive £83,774. CoolBlue2 will run from April 2018 to March 2019.

CoolBlue2 is a continuation of CST's work in developing next-generation, GaN laser technology for implementation in quantum sensors based on ultracold atoms. "The direct, blue laser diode source we developed in the original CoolBlue project offered increased power, lower complexity and smaller size over conventional laser sources. This showed it was possible to transform quantum sensors from ‘laboratory instruments’ into miniaturised, robust systems," explains research engineer Thomas Slight (pictured above), who will lead the new project at CST Global.

CoolBlue2 will investigate the feasibility of developing a fully monolithic, narrow linewidth, GaN DFB laser. "It will operate in the 4XXnm region and will be used as a source in laser cooled, quantum sensing systems, such as quantum clocks, gravimeters and magnetometers. Other applications include atomic spectroscopy, subsea communications and medical instrumentation," adds Slight.

The funding allows for two iterations of chip design and manufacture, with the aim of producing a laser suitable for evaluation in a real-world, low-cost, integrated system.


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