Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics

About QTFP

Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics (QTFP) is a £40 million Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) programme that aims to transform our approach to understanding the universe and its evolution.

The QTFP programme aims to demonstrate how quantum technologies can be utilised to investigate key fundamental physics questions such as the search for dark matter, the nature of gravity and measurements of the quantum properties of elementary particles, thus ensuring the UK remains a first rank nation in the physics and quantum communities around the world.

24 awards have been funded under this programme since 2020.

In late 2020, seven projects were funded with a £31 million investment to demonstrate how quantum technologies could solve some of the greatest mysteries in fundamental physics.

  • Laser and lenses


    Quantum-enhanced Interferometry for new physics

    Principal investigator: Hartmut Grote

    Using quantum technologies we can now explore new fields of physics, seeking answers to long-standing questions like “what is dark matter?” and “is space-time quantised?”

  • Experiment using blue and red laser beams
    Strontium optical lattice clock experiment


    A network of clocks for measuring the stability of fundamental constants

    Principal investigator: Giovanni Barontoni

    Using quantum technology we can now network ultra-advanced atomic clocks to investigate the origin of dark matter and dark energy, which constitute 95% of the universe, but have so far eluded any detection.

  • Experimental equipment
    Low-noise cryogen-free cooler


    Determination of absolute neutrino mass using quantum technologies

    Principal investigator: Ruben Saaykan 

    The QTNM project aims to harness recent breakthroughs in quantum technologies to solve one of the most important outstanding challenges in particle physics – determining the absolute mass of neutrinos.

  • QSHS

    Quantum sensors for the hidden sector

    Principal investigator: Ed Daw

    Amplifiers operating at the quantum limit are essential for probing the astrophysics of the hidden sector. With this technology, we could solve the dark matter problem.

  • AION

    A UK atom interferometer observatory and network

    Principal investigator: Oliver Buchmuller

    Using ultracold strontium atom interferometers as quantum sensors to tackle open questions in fundamental physics, such as the nature of dark matter, the existence of new fundamental interactions, and novel sources of gravitational waves.

  • Scientist adjusting device
    Nuclear demagnetisation experiment


    Quantum enhanced superfluid technologies for dark matter and cosmology

    Principal investigator: Andrew Casey

    Combining Quantum Technology with ultralow temperatures we can now search for dark matter in a mass regime that is strongly motivated by theory, but inaccessible using current techniques.

  • Logo of Quantum Simulators for Fundamental Physics


    Quantum simulators for fundamental physics

    Principal investigator: Silke Weinfurtner

    We explore essential processes linked to the dynamics of the early universe and black holes, which are fundamental reflections of the interplay between general relativity and quantum fields through analogue quantum simulations.

In 2022, a further seventeen new awards were funded.

  • Quantum sensing for antimatter gravity
    Institution: UCL
    Principal investigator: D. Cassidy
  • MeVQE: A world-leading centre for MeV scale entanglement physics
    Institution: University of York
    Principal investigator: D. Watts
  • Development of levitated quantum optomechanical sensors for dark matter detection
    Institution: UCL
    Principal investigator: P. Barker
  • Simulating high energy physics with quantum photonics
    Institution: University of Bristol
    Principal investigator: A. Laing
  • ParaPara: A quantum parametric amplifier using quantum paraelectricity
    Institutions: Lancaster University, UCL
    Principal investigator: E. Laird, E. Romans
  • Quantum computing for nuclear physics
    Institution: University of Surrey
    Principal investigator: P. Stevenson
  • Supercooled cosmological simulator
    Institution: Newcastle University
    Principal investigator: T. Billam
  • Testing theories of dark energy using atom interferometry
    Institutions: Imperial College London, The University of Nottingham
    Principal investigator: E. Hinds, E. Copeland
  • Differential atom interferometry and velocity selection using the clock transition of strontium atoms for AION
    Institutions: Imperial College London, University of Oxford, STFC laboratories, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge
    Principal investigator: O. Buchmueller, C. Foot, P. Majewski, M. Holynski, U. Schneider
  • Penrose processes in an analogue black hole formed in hybrid light-matter (polariton) superfluid
    Institution: The University of Sheffield
    Principal investigator: D. Krizhanovskii
  • Synthesising quantum states of sound and listening to what they tell us about the universe
    Institution: Imperial College London
    Principal investigator: M. Vanner
  • Quantum simulation algorithms for quantum chromodynamics
    Institution: University of Cambridge
    Principal investigator: S. Strelchuk
  • Accelerating the development of novel clocks for measuring varying fundamental constants
    Institutions: University of Birmingham, Imperial College London
    Principal investigator: G. Barontini, M. Tarbutt
  • A quantum jump sensor for dark matter detection
    Institution: Imperial College London
    Principal investigator: J. Devlin
  • Increasing the science reach for quantum enhanced interferometry
    Institutions: Cardiff University, University of Strathclyde, University of Birmingham, University of Warwick, University of Glasgow
    Principal investigator: H. Grote, S. Reid, D. Martynov, A. Datta, R. Hadfield
  • Trapped electron for neutrino mass measurement
    Institution: University of Sussex
    Principal investigator: J. V. Galiana
  • Levitated Quantum Diamonds
    Institutions: University of Warwick, UCL
    Principal investigator: G. Morley, S. Bose