Scotland’s leading quantum technology research centre, which brings together experts from Heriot-Watt and the Universities of Glasgow, Bristol and Edinburgh, has been officially opened.
Based in Glasgow, QuantIC, the Quantum Imaging Centre, will commercialise cameras built with newly-developed quantum technology, with the potential to create affordable handheld video cameras capable of seeing areas of the spectrum only previously visible with large and expensive devices.
More than 30 industry partners will help QuantIC’s imaging systems bring new benefits to the UK economy.
Technology demonstrators already developed by the partnership were on display, including a new camera, developed by researchers at Heriot-Watt, which uses highly advanced photon-timing techniques to see through layers of organic tissue, and a detector which uses springs ten times thinner than a human hair to image minute changes in gravity fields, and a camera which uses a cheap single-pixel sensor to create video images beyond the spectrum of visible light. This camera can be tuned to make it sensitive to infrared or ultraviolet light, making it capable of visualising gas leaks, seeing clearly through smoke, or looking under skin for tumors.
Professor Steve Beaumont, director of QuantIC, said, “We are proud and pleased to be officially opening QuantIC at the Glasgow Science Centre today and making contact with representatives of industries with whom we may partner in the future.
“We’ve committed £4m of our funding to working with our industry partners to ensure these exciting new technologies can reach consumers and contribute to the economy.”
QuantIC is one of four new Quantum Technology Hubs which are sharing in £270m in funding from the UK Government over the next five years, and is the only hub to be based in Scotland. The centre will be funded by a £27m award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The Scottish Funding Council has also invested £3m to create a new innovation space at the University of Glasgow. Companies will use the space to work closely with university researchers to develop prototypes of new technologies before taking them to market.
QuantIC has already won the backing of the Scottish Government. Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said, “QuantIC is exactly the type of collaboration between academia and industry which confirms Scotland’s place as a world leader in scientific innovation. I’m extremely pleased to see the centre officially opened today and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the first products reach consumers in the future.”