UK’s First Fraunhofer Centre Launches, Dedicated Quantum Technology Unit

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Fraunhofer will base a new research center in the UK, this one specifically designed to investigate quantum science.

PRESS RELEASE — The United Kingdom will be home to a new Fraunhofer Centre that will be dedicated to quantum technology.

The opening of the new unit, which reflects the growing use of QT, will form part of the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow. The organisation, which carries out research and development for industry, was established in Scotland in 2012.  It will now have two business teams – one focusing on lasers and laser systems and the other on quantum technologies.

Quantum technology has wide applications across areas such as sensing, navigation, communications, computing and healthcare. Photonics, the science of light, is crucial to the operation of most QT and the demand for Fraunhofer’s expertise has increased over the last few years and QT accounts for half of its workload.

The organisation works internationally with direct contracts and collaborative projects in QT across Europe and beyond. Already it is working on more of Innovate UK’s QT projects than any other organisation, with dozens of customers across the UK.

Simon Andrews, Executive Director of Fraunhofer UK Research said: “As quantum technologies emerged it was SMEs and agile technology companies who engaged with us first. Now we’re seeing large, multinational firms embrace the powerful potential and value of QT. It’s the right time for us to define a dedicated team as this sector matures into an exciting and expanding market. Developing laser sources for QT sat well within our laser unit, but the broadening skills set, combined with more emphasis on fabrication demands a distinct identity. The Centre for Applied Photonics work in lasers continues to go from strength to strength and it has developed a wide range of environmental sensing, net-zero technology and laser-based medical diagnostic systems. Furthermore, devising the next generation of optical systems continues to be a strong part of our portfolio.”

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Head of the new Business Unit, Dr Loyd McKnight added:

”Photonics and lasers play a vital role in much of QT and we are using that base to deliver more advanced and complete systems in sensing, imaging, communications andcomputing projects. It is an exciting sector with diverse applications and we all enjoy tackling the challenges our industrial collaborators have in commercialising this advanced technology.”

In one notable project, QT Assemble, Fraunhofer’s physicists in Glasgow lead a £10 million UK Government project to drive QT forward. It involves enabling the wider adoption of QT by producing complex devices in miniaturised format, thus positioning the UK as a strong global player in the fast-growing quantum field.

InnovateUK has just announced the latest round of Quantum Tech project investments with Fraunhofer CAP developing prototypes and new processes in 4 major projects with a dozen industrial and academic partners in more than £15M of new activity. These projects will deliver advances in quantum internet, quantum communications, the hydrogen economy and underwater applications.

For more market insights, check out our latest quantum computing news here.

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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