Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Q-Sense Report Summary

Project ID: 691156
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Q-Sense (Quantum sensors - from the lab to the field)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Q-SENSE is international and inter-sector collaboration in the area of cold atom quantum sensors for terrestrial and space applications. The tangible outcomes will be increased knowledge in our technology prototype of space optical clock, plans for use of generalised online tools for scientists to make simulations of any performance for an atom interferometer, and to increase awareness and interest in the cold atom field for the public and also targeted to 70 companies that would like to enter the field and bring such technologies to market. Our research and innovation programme is aimed to deliver knowledge exchange around a technology demonstrator for a space optical clock, development plans for atom interferometer satellite missions, an open source toolbox for simulations of atom interferometer performance in real-world applications and outreach to over 70 companies and the public raising awareness of the potential of optical clocks and cold atom gravimeters for economic and societal benefits, such as in global water monitoring, humanitarian de-mining, satellite navigation and broadband communication. Q-SENSE drives innovation in cold atom Quantum Technologies along the following specific objectives in the Grant Agreement: 1) Enhance the stability of transportable optical clocks. 2) Demonstrate robust and compact subsystems that are compatible with space applications on the ISS. 3) Enhance experience, methodology of use and performance of transportable optical clocks in different locations. 4) Create an atom interferometer modelling framework which is developed into an open source modelling package. 5) Study application scenarios for quantum sensors in space and terrestrial applications. 6) To disseminate the scientific knowledge generated by the project at the European and International level, including making the public aware of the benefits of cold atom quantum technologies. Achievement of the objectives-Research-1) All scientific deliverables (up to Month 24) were delivered on time and we are on target for the remaining deliverables; i.e. research activities are focused on the objectives as set out in Annex. 2) All scientific deliverables The Scientific progress of the project is on track. We have also prepared a data management plan as per the H2020 guidelines to support the goals of open access to the data.Training- Local Training Activities.GTRS, Generic and Transferrable Research Skills. Transfer of Knowledge (ToK)- All the secondments result in knowledge transfer, cases of “Sub 10 mHz Laser” and “Effect of Space-Time Curvature on an Atomic Wave function” are shining examples what of ToK from the US to Europe.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

As the name, “Q-sense: Quantum Sensors-from the lab to the field” suggests that the translational of quantum concepts into application domain is crucial for the project. In order to achieve it, it is crucial that the experimental setups, which have been confined to labs so far, become mobile and field deployable. In this project, main focus is on gravity and time sensors but the experience and knowledge gained is applicable to other type of quantum sensors, especially based on atoms such as magnetic sensors, which could be used in medical applications like brain mapping or dementia. Highlighted results so far-
1) Space Optical Clock (SOC2): It is based on cold Sr atoms and aimed to pave the way for an ultra-stable and ultra-precise clock on the International Space Station and in space. The setup has reached a landmark stability of 3 parts in 10^18, meaning that the clock will deviate less than a second over the age of the universe (~14B years). This has become one of the most stable clocks in the world, the other two being ~1 part in 10^18. However these two clocks are based on Lab based setups. 2) Sub 10 mHz Laser: Ultra stable quantum clocks also require ultra stable clock lasers. This is typically achieved by stabilising the laser to a passive Fabry-Pérot resonator with the Pound-Drever-Hall (PDH) stabilization technique. We follow this approach by stabilizing a commercial DFB fiber laser to a Fabry-Pérot resonator made of single-crystal silicon cooled to 124 K. Both the cavity spacer and the mirror substrates are made out of the same crystal. We demonstrate unprecedented fractional frequency instability of 4×10-17 with the linewidth at 1.5 μm is 10 mHz, corresponding to a coherence time of 100s. This is a world record so far and achieves the coherence times required to do gravitational wave astronomy using quantum clocks. This work benefits from the knowledge exchange between Europe (PTB, Germany) and the US (University of Colorado). 3) Effect of Space-Time Curvature on an Atomic Wave function- Einstein’s theory of gravity utilizes the concept that space-time is curved. For the first time, the effect of it has been measurement on the wavefunction of a single atom. 1nrad phase with the gradiometer resolution of 3 × 10−9 s−2 per shot, has been measured. This work benefits from the knowledge exchange between Europe (UoB (UK), ULM & ULUH (Germany)). 4) Humanitarian Demining: Gravity mapping and gravity measurements are extremely useful for human demining and civil engineering work. Gravity sensors response is different for different soil type and whether is the soil is dry or wet. Joint Research Centre (Ispra, Italy) provides such a facility with x-y scanner. A sub-site within the JRC was identified by Adam Lewis (JRC) as having potential for obtaining field gravity data, both with current commercial gravimeters and future quantum gravimeters and gradiometers. Leica GPS equipment and a Scintrex CG-5 spring based gravimeter were taken to the site.This work has a possibility to impact policy making at the EU level. JRC work and reporting typically feeds into policy making. We have 8 publications including the high impact journals like PRLs (these publications are published in OpenAire Zenodo website).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The EU has embarked on 1B€ Quantum Technology Initiative for a duration of 10 years. The central idea behind the initiative is to build Europe’s industrial leadership based on quantum industry. As recently as Feb 20, 2018, EC has closed its first Flagship call for proposals. JRC, beneficiary in the project has been advising EC on this initiative and, work and concepts of Qsense are very central to such a QT initiative. The employed outreach activities improve the public’s understanding of science, especially the knowledge of quantum sensors and their applications. Due to the multifaceted application scenarios, there is excellent potential for significant long-term impact. Through the outreach activities, the consortium is directly engaging with the public and wider industrial community, allowing a better understanding of the growing interest in quantum sensing. The scientific community benefits through access to the produced research knowledge, and access to the open source modeling platform. Open Source toolkit will inform future cold atom based terrestrial and space experiments of idealised hardware and design choices, while also identifying the most appropriate early physics targets for these systems. The open source modelling can facilitate interaction with related but as yet rather distinct disciplines such as navigation and gravitational surveying.
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