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UK Quantum Technology Hub Plans Optical Network for Precision Timing

By IQT News posted 23 Sep 2021

(Optics.org) The UK Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Timing, based at the University of Birmingham, and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have announced a joint effort to install a large-scale fiber optic network for precision timing.
The intention is for this network to connect the University’s Birmingham campus and the NPL head office in Teddington, south-west London, marking the first time a fiber optic network for this particular purpose has been extended to cover such a large area in the UK.
“This fiber optic network will essentially be an independent connection that will uniquely use optical amplifiers to simultaneously boost multiple signals, which typically deteriorate every 80 kilometers,” commented the Hub announcing the project.
“Hub researchers are deploying single amplifiers, as opposed to placing multiple amplifiers at the same location, to prove that performance is not affected by this method, a solution that will save significant time and money.”
Researchers will also test the possibility of using such fiber link networks to support GPS networks in the future, said to represent a step-change in the technology that underpins current communications networks and many aspects of UK national infrastructure.
“This technology has already been tested in Paris, and I’m excited about the Hub taking the first step in establishing a UK-wide time and frequency distribution network,” said NPL’s Jochen Kronjaeger.
The Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Timing was founded in 2019, one of four Hubs in different aspects of quantum technology created as the second phase of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme backed collectively by £94 million in government funding.

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