Royal Holloway London to build new £2.7m nanofabrication facility in Surrey

Research in this field could lead to new and unique types of ultra-sensitive sensing devices and aid the construction of a superconducting quantum computer

The development of quantum technology is to be the focus of a new £2.7m UK Centre for Superconducting and Hybrid Quantum Systems (UK-CSQS).

The UK-CSQS collaboration, with founder members Lancaster University, Royal Holloway London and the National Physical Laboratory, will bring together the UK’s most experienced scientists working on superconducting quantum technologies and aims to provide shared access to nanofabrication and measurement facilities at all three sites.

As part of the creation of the UK-CSQS, Royal Holloway has been awarded £2.7m for a new nanofabrication and cleanroom facility at its campus in Egham, Surrey.

The award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) establishes UK-CSQS as the national centre for nanofabrication in the rapidly advancing field of superconducting quantum electronics.

Research in this field could lead to new and unique types of ultra-sensitive sensing devices and aid the construction of a superconducting quantum computer.

The facility will be home to one of the world’s most advanced electron-beam lithography systems. This technology allows patterns for electronic devices to be written onto, for example, silicon wafers. It is capable of making the smallest electronic components measuring only a few nanometres, or tens of atoms, across.

Superconducting quantum electronics is expected to have wide applications in sensing devices that operate at sensitivities beyond the standard quantum limit, quantum information processing, new electrical standards, quantum simulators, new types of meta-materials and elsewhere.

As a national centre, UK based academics wishing to research and develop superconducting quantum devices will be offered access to the new facility free of charge, with some of the available time also allocated to commercial enterprises at competitive rates.

Science Minister Jo Johnson said: 'We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation. The Government is ensuring major new discoveries happen here, such as the creation of super-powerful quantum computers. This new funding builds on our protection for science spending by supporting research in our world-leading universities and helping to train the science leaders of tomorrow.'

The new facility is expected to come on stream in the summer of 2017.