News & Views
Investors see Positive Future for Quantum Tech spin-out
Aug 18 2021
Following years of development, Aquark Technolgies’ has launched its ground-breaking cold atom chamber, after securing the investment funding that has enabled the successful spin-out of the company from Southampton University.
Cold atom chambers provide the space in which quantum devices can tap into and manipulate the wave-like properties of atoms and tiny changes in their energy levels. Former Southampton PhD students Dr Andrei Dragomir and Dr Alexander Jantzen, have developed the Aquark cube, a design which has miniaturised the cold atom chamber by a factor of 100 into a simple, portable plug-and-play system.
“Quantum technology has for many years offered increased performance over conventional technology, but it has been complicated to achieve and so applications have been limited. Mostly the tech has stayed hidden in research labs around the world; we want to make cold-atoms practical and accessible for wider use,” said Romanian-born Andrei.
“By controlling a cloud of atoms at a temperature near absolute zero we can take extremely precise measurements for time, acceleration, gravity and rotation. As such, using this technology we could, for example, create a global navigation system that is accurate without a satellite connection.”
The reduction in system size from that of “an entire lab to the palm of a hand,” could also see the idea replacing bulky, complicated, or high energy consumptive sensors seen in laboratory environments,” Andrei believed. “This huge miniaturisation step will enable the commercialisation of all sensors, accelerating the development and capabilities of quantum technologies. Sensors made with cold atom systems at their core have been shown to significantly surpass their classical counterparts.”
Having unveiled its technology the Future Worlds Demo Day in June, Aquark received funding from angel investors in the Future Worlds network, including Southampton alumnus James Vernon who said: “Aquark’s unique approach leverages novel research from the University of Southampton with the potential to unlock world-changing opportunities in the quantum market. As investors we are delighted to work with the team on what promises to be a very exciting journey ahead.”
Andrei added: “It’s been great to be part of the Founders Cohort and we are thrilled that our hard work has paid off and we have secured investment. Aquark has been working with Future Worlds from day one and we would not be in the current position without their support. Closing this investment round is a huge milestone for us as we complete the spinout process from the University and our vision for Aquark Technologies becomes a reality.
“Our aim is to be the main supplier of cold atom systems and hardware components for quantum technology sensors and computing in the UK and the world.”
Aquark Technologies results from the research completed at the School of Physics and Astronomy in the Quantum, Light and Matter group.
Ben Clark, Director of Future Worlds at the University said: “The founders pitching at Demo Day addressed some of the biggest challenges and most exciting opportunities in the world. Investors were impressed by the bold visions and world-changing potential they discovered. The investment in Aquark Technologies is an embodiment of the investors’ belief in that potential.
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The Future Worlds Founders Cohort supports the next generation of Britain’s university talent and is free of charge for the founders.
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