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University of Strathclyde joins INSTA-QT project


Team of five researchers to focus on the development of laser technology for quantum sensors

The University of Strathclyde has joined an international network which has been established to use quantum technology in tackling global challenges, as set out in the UN Development Sustainable Goals (SDGs).

The International Network for Sensor and Timing Applications in Quantum Technologies (INSTA-QT), which has received £500,000 in EPSRC funding, has partnered with scientists in 12 countries, including Angola, Germany and Zimbabwe, to establish Global Virtual Workshops, which will each be specific to the global challenges of: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and wellbeing; climate action; clean water and sanitation and sustainable cities and communities.

All of the participating centres in the project, which is led at the University of Birmingham, will work together to take a strategic approach in linking problem areas to carefully considered solutions, with the advantage of collaborating in a collectively large number of experts across a wide geographical breadth.

A team of five researchers from Strathclyde’s Department of Physics and Institute of Photonics will be participating in INSTA-QT. Their role will focus on the development of core laser technology for quantum sensors, with a major activity in building quantum magnetometers for magnetoencephalography and geophysical surveying. Magnetoencephalography is a ground-breaking non-invasive technique for brain imaging, which is used in the diagnosis of neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, and for fundamental research in brain connectivity.

Paul Griffin, senior lecturer in Physics, is Strathclyde’s lead on the project. He said: “Quantum sensors have huge potential to transform society and to have real impact on the lives of people across the world. INSTA-QT is the first concerted effort to build a network of cross-disciplinary research to address this challenge.

“Strathclyde, as an international centre for excellence in Quantum Technologies, is delighted to have a key role.”

Since the establishment of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme in 2014, significant progress has been made in developing quantum sensor technology to accelerate productivity across the UK’s sectors, but this project marks the first time scientists will be working across the globe with policy experts and cross-disciplinary researchers. INSTA-QT will not only focus on improving societal problems across the world with quantum technologies but will also contribute to an urgently-needed growth in quantum skills and expertise in the UK.

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