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Aberdeen Uni Scientists to Boost Quantum Tech with Horizon Grant

David Paul



The New Horizons programme will support two quantum projects with more than £325k in funding.

A new funding grant will help academics from the University of Aberdeen research quantum tech to revolutionise computing.

Researchers from the University’s Department of Chemistry have been awarded a New Horizons grant worth a total of £326,000 from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

According to researchers at the university, the money will allow them to ‘push the boundaries’ of quantum computing and LCD displays.

The first of the two projects, led by Professor Abbie McLaughlin and Dr Eve Wildmawill, will “observe the phenomenon of Many-Body Localisation (MBL) in a chemical compound for the first time,” according to a university statement.

A breakthrough in this area could supposedly result in the design of new quantum technologies, such as computers with “superior algorithmic capabilities”.

Professor McLaughlin commented: “Normally, quantum computers must be cooled to extremely low temperatures but the MBL system is less sensitive to its environment and can allow quantum computers to operate at higher temperatures.

“If successful, this research could result in the design of new quantum technologies, such as advanced quantum computers and sensors, which would have major benefits in sectors such as healthcare, aerospace, transport, finance, and telecommunications.”

As part of the second project, led by researchers Professors Corrie Imrie and John Storeywill, a new liquid crystal phase will be investigated which could potentially lead to the “next generation of LCD screens”.

Commenting on the research, Professor Imrie said: “Our aim is to develop new materials that may be used in a wide range of applications.

“We all use liquid crystal displays in our televisions, computer monitors, tablets and phones. This research could lead to the next generation of extremely fast switching LCDs operating at lower power, improving their performance and environmental impact.

“This has the potential to transform the LCD industry,” he said.


Professor McLaughlin, Director of Research for Chemistry, added: “The New Horizons programme is designed to support high-risk, transformative research and these projects highlight the innovative and impactful research being undertaken at the University.

“They have the potential to revolutionise technology that plays a vital role in our society and I’m looking forward to driving this research forward.”

New Horizons funding will be a welcome boost UK quantum technology research, following on from the news in September last year (2020)  of £10 million in funding for the country’s first quantum computer hosted in Abington, Oxfordshire.

The new computer could supposedly provide up to £4 billion of economic opportunities globally by 2024, and surpass over £341 billion globally in productivity gains within the next few decades.

In Scotland, too, quantum technology is becoming increasingly important technology. Edinburgh-based laser manufacturer UniKLasers secured an £800,000 in September last year from Innovate UK to drive future research.

The National Research and Innovation Agency says it could use the money to help spearhead the commercial development of quantum technology applications.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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