Quantum Technology Showcase 2018
Bristol showcases this year’s innovative quantum tech
Last Friday, we were delighted to join the University of Bristol’s Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre (QTEC) to support their annual Quantum Technology Showcase.
The showcase is one of the first public pitching events for entrepreneurs enrolled in QTEC’s Enterprise Fellowship Programme: a funded year-long course for individuals with a background in quantum, or related areas of science and technology.
Currently in its second year, the QTEC program has already supported the founding of 10 new quantum-inspired companies in Bristol. It continues to be hugely instrumental in positioning Bristol as one of the leading centres for quantum enterprise. The QTEC scholars have all been working hard at translating quantum technology out of the lab and into the real world!
Friday’s showcase, hosted by Bristol’s Engine Shed and sponsored by Runway East, was a platform for these innovators to share the progress and development of their businesses after 9 months on the programme. It also provided a great opportunity to catch up with some of the programme’s alumni, hearing updates about what their companies are up to one year on.
All the pitches were delivered in front of a large audience, made up of members of Bristol’s entrepreneurial and professional community. Some of the highlights included hearing about ambitions to deliver an applied quantum computer, and drone-mounted pipeline-leak-detectors that could help with environmental protection.
Dr Xian Zhang kicked off the pitches by showcasing a new technique for manufacturing synthetic diamonds. Her technique is capable of providing a step change in thermal management in high power electronics, and has a wide range of ancillary applications, such as improving the durability of diamond-based tools and electronic substrates. ADX’s manufacturing and coating processes were developed by Dr Zhang during her PhD at the University of Bristol.
Dr Katie Cavanagh’s journey began when she identified that the widespread use of antibiotics in the treatment of livestock was contributing to the antimicrobial resistance crisis. Now partnered with a group based at the University of Bath, Katie hopes that developing a novel microfluidic detection process for analysis low concentration bacterial cultures, will allow for the creation of a fast, low-cost, and user-friendly point-of-care diagnostic device. This could be used by farmers and vets to treat illnesses more appropriately and reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics.
Dr James Titchener is working on an optical hardware platform for the development of scalable neural networks. Using light in place of electronics, BosonX is enabling highly parallelized information processing; removing the memory management issues present in conventional approaches in AI.
Hatim Salih is hoping to combat a looming problem in data security, the idea that secure information could be stolen now and decrypted later using future developments in quantum computing. Hatim urges that adopting quantum-secure encryption processes now is essential, and is working on a scalable solution sitting between software and hardware.
Dr Marcello Graziosi of Lab2Fabs anticipates that the service he is developing will solve a long standing problem for R&D divisions: that small R&D efforts struggle to receive their hardware development in a timely manner. Currently, complex computational chip development is run in large fabrication houses which often prioritise large batch runs over smaller prototype development. By spreading the manufacturing flow over a network of cleanroom multi-fabs, Lab2Fabs hopes to give R&D divisions access to a highly customisable and efficient manufacturing system that meets their specific requirements.
Dr Matthew Hutchings of SeeQC, is working to realise a full-stack, application specific, quantum computing service. Through development partnerships with several large firms in the computing field, and using an innovative control system to minimise the heat load on the quantum processors, SeeQC is aiming to produce advanced, energy efficient supercomputing resources.
Dr Xiao Ai, QTEC alumni 2016-17, is working to develop a quantum-inspired laser radar (LI-DAR) using photon counting detector technology to detect low level concentrations of natural gas leaks. Xiao showed off a current prototype of the system which is so light weight it can be drone-mounted, offering an opportunity to reduce operation costs of current sensing approaches by ten-fold.
Recently named the UK’s Most Innovative Small Cyber Security Company 2018 at InfoSec, CEO Dr Chris Erven (QTEC alumni 2016-17) showcased KETS work in developing quantum secured encryption technologies; from quantum random number generators to full quantum key distribution devices. Chris is looking to provide secure hardware solutions to boost security within defence, telecoms, and critical infrastructure applications.
Finally, QTEC manager Dr Andy Collins is developing an alternative to RFID tag which uses the inherent physical parameters of a object to create unique identifying markers; using radio frequency waves to identify, verify, and protect assets. By measuring an asset’s unique radar signal, any changes caused by physical interaction or tampering of the device can be detected.
Bristol’s science innovation ecosystem has seen rapid acceleration over the past 18 months, with quantum technologies highlighting the diverse range of applications and challenges that entrepreneurial scientists are tackling within the city. We can’t wait to see what is in store for these new, pioneering companies and will continue to help support and champion their developments as they continue with QTEC on their commercial journeys.
List of speakers at the showcase:
QTEC Fellows 2017-18: Dr Xian Zhang (AdvancedDiamondX), Dr Katie Cavanagh (Beosense), Dr James Titchener (BosonX), Hatim Salih (DotQuantum), Dr Marcello Graziosi (Lab2Fabs) and Dr Matthew Hutchings (SeeQC)
QTEC Fellows 2016-17: Dr Xiao Ai (QLM) and Dr Chris Erven (KETS)
QTEC management’s own Dr Andy Collins (SurfaceRF).