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Putting quantum computing in the palm of your hand

Published: 9 February 2022

Putting quantum computing in the palm of your hand

Dr Andrei Dragomir has invented the first quantum computing device, which fits in the palm of your hand. Reducing the size, weight, cost and power of quantum sensors is essential for integrating them into real-world applications. Andrei's spin-out company, Aquark Technologies, has received investment from the Future Worlds network to explore the mass market potential for quantum technologies.

Overcoming the challenges of quantum computing

Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionise our lives in areas as diverse as communications, transport, artificial intelligence and medicine. However, there are many hurdles to overcome before that can be achieved. 

Unlike current electronics, which rely on the manipulation of electrons, quantum devices are based on the physics of atoms and sub-atomic particles. Quantum computers have to be kept away from any electrical interference, and cooled using complex cryogenics. A cold atom chamber is needed to contain and manipulate the atoms. Existing, cold atoms systems are complex and need a large amount of space, a lot of power and specialists to operate them. 

Andrei’s innovation, the Aquark Cube, miniaturises the cold atom chamber by a factor of 100. His plug-and-play device is an integrated atom chip that is designed to hold cold atoms in a vacuum cooled to absolute zero.

"Our core invention is a miniaturised cold atom system that reduces system size from that of an entire lab to the palm of a hand. This huge miniaturisation step will enable the commercialisation of all sensors, accelerating the development and capabilities of quantum technologies.”

How the University supports startups

Aquark Technologies was launched at the CES 2020 technology expo in Las Vegas, with the support of Future Worlds, the University of Southampton’ startup accelerator. Andrei formed the company together with Dr Alexander Jantzen.

Andrei also received support from SPRINT to attend the 10-week Seraphim Space Camp Fellowship Programme. SPRINT is the Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology, a unique partnership of top UK space universities, industry, government agencies and the investment community.

Future goals

Aquark Technologies will start by developing individual components to address the current market, then move on to more ambitious targets such as:

  • designing a cheap, efficient atomic clock
  • researching a navigation system that could revolutionise GPS
  • making quantum computing available for use in the home

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