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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R003033/1
Title: Strontium COld atom package foR commercial oPtIcal clOcks
Principal Investigator: Bongs, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 March 2017 Ends: 28 February 2018 Value (£): 188,154
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cold atom devices for sensing and metrology are the closest to commercial exploitation. The science is for some

applications highly developed and offers unquestioned performance advantages in sensitivity and some steps have been

made at making more compact systems. But for genuine and widespread applications substantial improvements need to be

made in size, weight and power ('SWAP') and ruggedness of these systems.

The project SCORPIO is concerned with developing a component technology that forms the core of an optical lattice clock.

The physics packaged that enables a magneto optical trap (MOT) of strontium atoms is the central component in which

multi-stage cooling and lattice preparation provides the key elements for clock interrogation.

Optical lattice clocks use transitions in neutral atoms as quantum frequency references to deliver timing at very high levels of accuracy. This project forms a key part of the development of a commercial strontium clock, using techniques developed

in the creation of the world's most stable clocks.

The project will support the nucleation of a leading industrial capability for such future atomics packages and chamber

products, which will be UK based and also therefore benefit from non-ITAR status.

Our consortium of 2 partners has all of the critical expertise required to prosecute this project. It is led by the highly

innovative commercial partner MSL who have a proven track record in bringing novel, state of the art technology in high

quality lasers to market. University of Birmingham is leading of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and

Metrology, an £80M innovation project including 6 University and over 70 industry partners. As such it provides a number of

technology development specialists with expertise in optical clocks, gravity sensors and simulation packages in addition to

civil engineering expertise in the use of gravity sensors for underground mapping and links to potential commercial endusers.

By combinin the vacuum technology with laser technology through to testing we will also be making unique steps towards

a significant step down in size, power and cost requirements of a future Sr based atomic clock.

To-date these components have been developed in isolation. It is important, however, to develop systems that can

integrate whilst following a similar ruggedisation and miniaturisation activities. This collaborative programme will develop a

clear supply chain of UK-based technology suitable for various applications ranging from satellite-free navigation, ultra-high

precision timing for financial trades and exceptionally-precise gravetometers for sub-surface detection.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk