Super-precise Quantum navigation using lasers and super cold atoms

The UK’s first quantum accelerometer for navigation has been demonstrated by a team from Imperial College London and M Squared. Losing GPS (global positioning satellites) service for one day would cost the UK £1 billion. Losing GPS is also a large concern for advanced militaries. Precision warfare depends upon GPS.

UK team has demonstrated a transportable, standalone quantum accelerometer at the National Quantum Technologies Showcase.

The quantum accelerometer has precision and accuracy possible by measuring properties of supercool atoms. At extremely low temperatures, the atoms behave in a ‘quantum’ way, acting like both matter and waves.

The current system is designed for navigation of large vehicles, such as ships and even trains. However, the principle can also be used for fundamental science research, such as in the search for dark energy and gravitational waves, which the Imperial team are also working on.