(GPS.World) ColdQuanta, which specializes in cold atom quantum technology, has been awarded two development contracts from U.S. government agencies worth $2.55 million. Both projects are based on the company’s Quantum Core technology, which uses atoms cooled to a temperature of nearly absolute zero and lasers to manipulate and control the atoms with extreme precision.
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E) awarded ColdQuanta $1.8 million for the development of a prototype atomic clock that could enable reliable, highly accurate position, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities necessary for the functioning of critical infrastructure around the world. Atomic clocks are used for GPS/GNSS systems as well as for time-distribution services that are the basis of financial networks, computer, TV and radio services and other applications.
Services such as satellite-based GPS can be spoofed, lack encryption or other security features, and often can’t deliver the signal strength required. Because of this, the development and deployment of a PNT system that doesn’t depend on GPS is a critical need across governments and industry, according to ColdQuanta. The company said this is especially true for mobile systems such as aircraft and spacecraft that need to know their position with great precision even when GPS is unavailable.
ColdQuanta will deliver a state-of-the-art atomic clock with “instant on” capability if a GPS signal is lost, with a timing accuracy comparable to the best commercial clocks. It will also be ruggedized, portable and compact to enable its use in aircraft, and will minimize the power draw in between periods of demand.