(Engineering&Technology) In a wide-ranging discussion, President of space and quantum at Teledyne e2v Miles Adcock discusses his company’s quantum development. “There’s a lot of talk and misunderstanding about what quantum is and what it does.”Adcock says that he’s not involved in quantum computing. “Quantum covers a lot of other things, and it is as simple as the manipulation of the characteristics of atoms in order to make machines that do useful things. In the UK, under Sir Peter Knight, we have a significant quantum programme that’s been running for years and is administrated by Innovate UK. It’s something the UK is really choosing to stand for, and a good characteristic of that programme is that it is overtly interested in industrial exploitation of quantum technology – not just the academic pursuit of understanding it.
Adcock says the two strands of quantum his company is involved with are quantum clocks and gravity sensing, “both of which have space applications. In the world of quantum clocks, in the UK you can get relatively small clocks for £1,000. Or, you can get large ones for maybe 100 times that, which are used on sea-going military vessels, or in the heart of the financial sector. Yet there’s a gap for clocks that are maybe the size of a pack of cards. These could be fundamentally important to 5G, which has a requirement for phenomenally accurate timing.