/ColdQuanta awarded US government contracts for atomic clock (via Qpute.com)
This velocity-distribution data for a gas of rubidium atoms confirmed the discovery of the Bose–Einstein condensate in 1995. In these three snapshots in time, atoms—cooled to near absolute zero—condensed from less dense areas on the left (red, yellow, and green) to very dense areas at the center and the right (blue and white). (Image: NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder)

ColdQuanta awarded US government contracts for atomic clock (via Qpute.com)


Projects will advance technology used for secure GNSS, quantum timekeeping and communications

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.

Prototype Atomic Clock

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.

Alternative PNT. However, 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.

Under this project, 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.

“High-performance atomic clocks are the backbone of the internet, electrical power grids, financial networks, and autonomous navigation. Combining this with ColdQuanta’s development of related inertial navigation devices — such as gyroscopes, accelerometers and gravimeters — will lead to the first Quantum Positioning Systems,” said Dan Caruso, executive chairman and CEO of ColdQuanta. “We’re excited to work closely with the Department of Defense to meet their urgent needs, while also advancing the capabilities needed for future, unassailable global positioning technology.”

This velocity-distribution data for a gas of rubidium atoms confirmed the discovery of the Bose–Einstein condensate in 1995. In these three snapshots in time, atoms—cooled to near absolute zero—condensed from less dense areas on the left (red, yellow, and green) to very dense areas at the center and the right (blue and white). (Image: NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder)

This velocity-distribution data for a gas of rubidium atoms confirmed the discovery of the Bose–Einstein condensate in 1995. In these three snapshots in time, atoms—cooled to near absolute zero—condensed from less dense areas on the left (red, yellow, and green) to very dense areas at the center and the right (blue and white). (Image: NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder)

Miniaturized Ion Trap System

Also, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) awarded ColdQuanta $750K for the development of a high-performance miniature ion trap system. Compact ion trap systems are applicable to a spectrum of quantum applications including quantum networks, computing, metrology, and timekeeping.

ColdQuanta previously developed a prototype miniaturized ion trapping system with performance that is competitive with traditional, large-footprint vacuum systems. The system maximizes performance and robustness while minimizing size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP). The new AFRL award will build on the success of this prototype to increase performance, reduce cost, and create a robust architecture for deployable quantum platforms.

Bose-Einstein Condensate

The story of ColdQuanta began in 1924 with the discovery of the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) — also known as the fifth form of matter — by Satyendra Bose and Albert Einstein. Seventy years later, BEC was first synthesized at the University of Colorado at Boulder in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for which Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman won a Nobel Prize in 2001. Their colleague, Dana Anderson, co-founded ColdQuanta, which is using the fifth form of matter as the foundation for its cold atom quantum technology.

When atoms are cooled to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero, they take on quantum properties. Lasers are used to arrange the atoms, hold them in place, run computations on them, and read out the results. Quantum calculations, communications and sensing are the result.

ColdQuanta is collaborating with global customers including major commercial and defense companies; the U.S. Department of Defense; national laboratories operated by the Department of Energy, NASA, and NIST; major universities; and quantum-focused technology companies to advance products and services development with Cold Atom Quantum Technology. ColdQuanta is based in Boulder, with offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Oxford, United Kingdom.




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