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We are excited to announce a new collaboration which has successfully been awarded funding from the UK’s national innovation agency Innovate UK!

Our project, QTEAM: Quantum Technologies Enabled by Additive Manufacturing, will demonstrate the use of Additive Manufacturing to produce lightweight and power-efficient space gravimeters that use quantum properties to provide highly accurate measurements of variations in gravity.

QTEAM brings together expertise from Metamorphic AM, University of Nottingham, and Torr Scientific Ltd to build on the quantum gravimeter device currently being developed by RAL Space. Our aim is to establish a UK-based AM supply chain for quantum technologies, placing the UK at the forefront of global ultra-portable quantum devices.

The project focuses on three key areas of innovation:

– The development of new design methods for additively manufactured ultra-high vacuum (UHV) systems to enable a new “ultra-portable” phase of quantum technologies for space applications.

– The development of novel and highly efficient active and passive pumping methods.

– The optimisation of magneto-optical trapping via non-standard 4D magnetic field distributions (varying non-separably in time and spatial coordinates).

QTEAM is being co-funded by Innovate UK as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to commercialise quantum technologies.

Torr Scientific Ltd will provide expertise for the ion pump design development, NEG coatings, vacuum, and hermetic sealing knowledge and UHV system design advice.

TSL has set out to optimise the performance of a bespoke miniature ion pump used for active pumping. Alongside, we will also develop and trial the performance of passive pumping utilising custom-made NEG coatings. Both pumping methods will assist in reducing the overall size, weight, and power consumption of the system.

TSL is a well-established manufacturing company and has specialised in UHV technology components for the past 24 years. High quality instrumentation and components are manufactured in cleanroom conditions. Facilities include e-beam PVD deposition and sputter deposition coating systems, vacuum furnaces, UV/Vs/IR Spectrophotometers, white light Interferometer surface profiler, spectrometer, TIG welding, thermal UHV vacuum bakeout capabilities, laminar flow cabinets for assembling and cleaning, CNC mill and lathe, glass-shop, and helium mass leak testers.

Main staff contributing to the project: Dr David Stupple (Researcher & Scientific Advisor), Ed Wilson (Design Engineer & Process Review), Patrick Brown (Manufacturing Manager & Advisor), Philip Marston (Technical & Market Advisor), David Bates (Development & Engineering Advisor), Mel Thomas (Project and Commercial Advisor), Alexandra Bratu (Project Coordinator).

Find out more: https://www.ralspace.stfc.ac.uk/Pages/next-generation-gravity-measuring-device-gets-a-boost.aspx