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CSC to develop and commercialise quantum technologies

12th November 2018

Compound Semiconductor Centre Limited (CSC), the joint venture between IQE plc and Cardiff University is to participate in an Innovate UK industry challenge fund quantum technology project to develop and commercialise a quantum miniature atomic clock that will power future 5G networks.

CSC will be part of a consortium led by Teledyne e2v in the KAIROS project to develop a pre-production prototype of a miniature atomic clock for providing precise timing to a variety of critical infrastructure services such as reliable energy supply safe transport links mobile communications data networks and electronic financial transactions. 

The precise measurement of time is fundamental to the effective functioning of these services which currently rely on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for a timing signal. However GNSS signals are easily disrupted either accidentally or maliciously and in prolonged GNSS unavailability these critical services stop functioning. 

The reliance on GNSS for precision timing and the consequent vulnerability of our essential services prompted InnovateUK to commission a report published by London Economics in June 2017. It estimated the impact on the UK economy of a five-day GNSS outage at £5.2B. That message is becoming widely understood and is creating a demand for timing solutions that are not GNSS dependent. The next generation miniature atomic clock arising from this project fulfills this need and will find widespread application in precision timing for mobile base stations network servers for financial services data centres national power distribution networks and air traffic control systems. 

Further applications arise in areas where an independent timing reference is needed on mobile platforms and especially in areas where no GNSS signal is available. A high-performance compact clock would benefit a range of useful capabilities addressing civil and military applications bringing both technical and economic gains for the UK.

Other partners in the consortium are the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Leonardo, Altran, ICS, HCD Research, Optocap, University of York and Cardiff University.


Compound Semiconductor Centre Limited
Dr Wyn Meredith wmeredith@compoundsemiconductorcentre.com

IQE plc
Chris Meadows cmeadows@iqep.com

Cardiff University     
Heath Jeffries                                          

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