EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R020302/1
Title: QUantum-Enhanced SpecTroscopic molecular detection - QUEST
Principal Investigator: Matthews, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Mahler, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 November 2017 Ends: 30 April 2019 Value (£): 56,970
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Optical instruments are critical to identifying substances and molecules. The spectroscopic detection of molecular species underpins an enormous range of critical techniques and processes used in modern society - from process control and manufacture, pollution monitoring and control, homeland security, and healthcare. As a result of the importance of this technique, spectroscopic detection instrument manufacture is a multi-billion pound global industry, and processes worth many times that depend upon them. The two key metrics by which detector performance are judged are the selectivity (how well the device can distinguish one molecular species from another) and the sensitivity (determining how much of the substance of interest must be present before it can be detected). This project will harness quantum light to increase sensitivity and selectivity of spectroscopic molecular detection.

Often, molecular species are present in minute amounts, making their measurement difficult. A fundamental limit to sensitivity of such instruments is the presence of noise in the laser light used in the sensor, which hides the very signature fluctuations in the optical signal intensity that enable detection of very minute levels of molecular species. In this project, we will address this by exploiting recent advances in quantum optics - the application of squeezed quantum states of light.With this special form of quantum light, one can choose to sacrifice knowledge of characteristics of the light that one is not interested in, in order to reap gains in others that one desires - in our project, we can maximise knowledge of characteristics that enable increased precision spectroscopy. Such an approach was recently successful in the first steps of helping the next generation of LIGO detectors to search an order of magnitude deeper into the universe for astronomical events causing gravitational waves, than the observed merging of black holes reprted in 2016.

In this project, we will exploit squeezed light for molecular detection with unprecedented sensitivity, thereby enabling detection of far smaller amounts of molecules than are possible with standard techniques. We will achieve this by designing, constructing and demonstrating a protype system that augments state of the art interferometric spectroscopic molecular detection.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk