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Aquark Demonstrates Cold Atom System on Small Drone

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University of Southampton spinout Aquark Technologies has demonstrated continuous trapping of cold atoms suitable for sensing while flying on a drone. Cold atom-based quantum technologies support quantum computing and high-precision sensing, with implications for measuring time, acceleration, electromagnetic waves, magnetic fields, and rotation. The approach uses groups of one or two elements, such as rubidium, in ultrahigh vacuum conditions and precisely tuned lasers to confine and slow down atoms for the manipulation of quantum states of superposition and entanglement.

The trials were run in partnership and jointly funded by missile systems developer MBDA, as well as Innovate UK, and flown by Wright Airborne Computing. Field trials conducted to validate trapping, cooling, and continuous operation of cold atoms while flying on a quadcopter drone. Courtesy of Aquark Tecnologies.
Field trials conducted to validate trapping, cooling, and continuous operation of cold atoms while flying on a quadcopter drone. Courtesy of Aquark Technologies. 

The complete quadcopter drone system used in the demonstrations weighed less than 10 kg; withstood freezing temperatures, high-humidity fog, and complex maneuvers; and operated for over an hour on internal power during full-day trials, Aquark said. Company CEO Andrei Dragomir said the demonstrations mark a step toward off-the-shelf cold atom systems, ranging from high-performance cold atom atomic clocks to gravimeters in particular.



Published: October 2023
Glossary
quantum
The term quantum refers to the fundamental unit or discrete amount of a physical quantity involved in interactions at the atomic and subatomic scales. It originates from quantum theory, a branch of physics that emerged in the early 20th century to explain phenomena observed on very small scales, where classical physics fails to provide accurate explanations. In the context of quantum theory, several key concepts are associated with the term quantum: Quantum mechanics: This is the branch of...
BusinessLasersquantumcold trappingcold atomsSensors & DetectorssensingdronedemonstrationcomputingAquark TechnologiesWright Airborne ComputingInnovate UK MBDAEuropeEnglandUKUnited KindomIndustry News

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