The UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology is one of four flagship initiatives in the UK National of Quantum Technology Program. As part of a 20-year vision it translates laboratory demonstrations to deployable practical devices, with game-changing miniaturized components and prototypes that transform the state-of-the-art for quantum sensors and metrology. It brings together experts from the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Nottingham, Southampton, Strathclyde and Sussex, NPL and currently links to over 15 leading international academic institutions and over 70 companies to build the supply chains and routes to market needed to bring 10–1000x improvements in sensing applications. It seeks, and is open to, additional partners for new application development and creates a point of easy open access to the facilities and supply chains that it stimulates or nurtures.
The ESA mission “Space Optical Clock” project aims at operating an optical lattice clock on the ISS in approximately 2023. The scientific goals of the mission are to perform tests of fundamental physics, to enable space-assisted relativistic geodesy and to intercompare optical clocks on the ground using microwave and optical links. The performance goal of the space clock is less than 1 × 10-17 uncertainty and 1 × 10-15 τ-1/2 instability. Within an EU-FP7-funded project, a strontium optical lattice clock demonstrator has been developed. Goal performances are instability below 1 × 10-15 τ-1/2 and fractional inaccuracy 5 × 10-17. For the design of the clock, techniques and approaches suitable for later space application are used, such as modular design, diode lasers, low power consumption subunits, and compact dimensions. The Sr clock apparatus is fully operational, and the clock transition in 88Sr was observed with linewidth as small as 9 Hz.