Lasers for quantum
With a plethora of expected social, technological, and economical impacts, quantum technology is poised to revolutionise many industries. However, manufacturers must overcome critical development hurdles to enable these new applications.
Overcoming the challenges of quantum technology development
For quantum technology to transform how we work, live, and innovate, it will be necessary to make the vital transition from research labs and large scale installations into industrial and consumer markets.
Existing capabilities within quantum technology, and more specifically in quantum sensor applications, are severely affected by the lack of scalable, economical, and preferably turn-key enablement technology.
In particular, the development of compact and rugged single frequency laser systems is required by quantum sensors to efficiently and effectively manipulate the quantum states of atoms and ions.
Current quantum sensors and their enabling technologies have two main issues: limited output power and high Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWAP-C).
At Skylark Lasers, our R&D team is driven to overcome these limitations with the continual development, improvement, and manufacture of our CW C-DPSS single frequency lasers.
We continually improve the design of our ultra-narrow linewidth, compact laser systems to achieve solutions with pure spectral properties aimed at manipulating the quantum states of atoms and ions.
We partner with many industrial and academic players across the UK to accelerate the commercialisation of quantum technology research and ensure the successful realisation of advanced quantum systems in field applications.
Key collaborators include:
Fraunhofer UK — The centre plays a critical role in bringing industry and academia together with a strong focus on building connections and forming lasting partnerships.
The University of Birmingham — Leading the UK Quantum Technology Hub for Sensing and Timing, Birmingham has been critical in testing and qualifying many of our laser systems.
The University of Glasgow — A strong heritage in low-noise laser platform design for extreme environments, our collaborations with Glasgow University have led us to create more robust and reliable laser platforms.
Heriot Watt University — A strong background in industrial research, Heriot Watt University is at the frontier of transforming scientific research into real-life applications.
It’s anticipated that by 2029, the market for quantum technology will be around $60 billion, with quantum sensing making up around $5 - 10 billion.
Addressing SWAP-C limitations, reducing production costs, and generating a robust supply chain for quantum-enabling technology will widen current opportunities and open up new markets for quantum navigation, communications, sensing and computing.
Dedicated to driving the future of laser-enabled quantum development, our team partners with the photonics cluster in Scotland and quantum research hubs across the UK to further miniaturise and commercialise laser systems for quantum sensors.
We aim to:
Quantum research aims
Laser development capabilities
We're a team of engineers and scientists with a diverse background in the design and assembly of compact, ultra-stable lasers.
Our lasers and optical solutions are all designed, assembled, and tested at our state-of-the-art Edinburgh facility. Our 1,500 sq. ft. Class 5 cleanroom makes it possible to meet the most stringent requirements of our customers and quantum research partners.
Lasers for quantum applications
Our technology provides critical advantages when it comes to SWAP-C and scalable production of spectrally-pure lasers.
Our compact diode-pumped solid-state (C-DPSS) technology is the ideal candidate to solve many of the challenges current quantum-enabled sensors are facing.
As opposed to existing solid-state solutions, our lasers are compact and provide high output powers at < 1 litre of volume. The inherently low linewidth and high spectral purity of our lasers make them perfect candidates for quantum applications.
Our existing solutions cover rubidium-based applications at 780.24 nm and strontium-based applications at 689, 698.4 and 813.42 nm.
Quantum research portfolio
We supply ultra-narrow linewidth lasers to our partners in quantum sensing, metrology and other technologies at the specific wavelengths related to the exact atomic transitions they wish to target:
The QT Assemble project is comprised of 14 organisations led by Fraunhofer’s Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP). The project addresses the challenges of size, weight, power and reliability of quantum systems. Through the development of reliable integrated components and sub-systems, the project goal is to widen current opportunities and open up new markets for navigation, communications, sensing and computing.
In terms of laser development, Skylark Lasers works to increase Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of its lasers as key components for the emerging commercial QT market, while reducing the cost, power consumption and footprint.
QT Assemble: Integrated quantum technology programme (QT Assemble)
Directly correlated to the spectral linewidth, coherence length is important for generating a stable interference pattern. Single frequency lasers can typically produce a coherent light source that is able to produce high resolution holographic images. A longer coherence length allows for more flexibility and complexity in holography setups.
Praseodymium laser architecture investigation and demonstrator (PLAID)
This project is proposed by a UK consortium of the best scientific and engineering companies the UK has to offer. Working with leading UK universities, these companies are looking to overcome these challenges, and develop a new industry of cold-atom sensors in the UK. If these advanced performances can be demonstrated, the economic and societal benefit of this industry in the UK is expected to be significant and long-lasting.
The project is led by RSK and consists of 12 partners, with funding from UKRI. Skylark Lasers is proud to be a part of this project in supplying a high output power 780 nm single frequency laser.
Pioneer Gravity: Gravity sensors for infrastructure productivity, situational awareness and seeing the invisible (Pioneer Gravity)
Together with Fraunhofer UK and support from UKRI, we have developed ultra-compact solid-state lasers, using an innovative design to extend the wavelength coverage and functionality of microchip lasers. The development of such compact and rugged sources of single-frequency light sources are instrumental in paving the way for quantum technologies to reach their full potential and make the transition from research labs and large scale installations into industrial and consumer markets.
Miniature Lasers for Quantum Technologies (MINUSQULE)
In this UKRI-supported project, we developed a compact single frequency solid-state laser for controlling quantum states of strontium atoms via light-matter interaction at their near-IR transition at 813 nm. Using our innovative proprietary technology platform, we reduced the size and cost of this critical component without losing performance.
DPSS laser stabilised at 813nm for Sr Clock application (LQT813)
The aim of this project is to deliver quantum-enabled systems for positioning, navigation and timing, and quantum-enabled sensors for navigation applications, such as magnetic or gravity field sensors. Skylark Lasers is developing the NX Micro commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) laser system tuned to the 780.24 nm Rb transition.