On 17th July 2018, Professor Kai Bongs, Director of the Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology, visited the House of Commons to discuss the progress and advancement of quantum sensors, as part of a Parliamentary Inquiry led by the Science and Technology Committee.
The Committee, which is chaired by The Rt Hon Norman Lamb (MP for Norfolk), were keen to understand the current ‘real world’ impact around quantum technologies, particularly since the creation of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme in 2013 as a result of Government funding of £270 million.
Giving evidence alongside Professor Bongs was Professor Ian Walmsley, Director of Networked Quantum Information Technologies, led by the University of Oxford, and Professor Winfried Hensinger, Professor of Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex.
The second evidence session requested input from key industry figures – such as Trevor Cross, Group Chief Technology Officer at Teledyne e2v – to better understand how the knowledge, research and findings grown in the Hubs are translated into ground-breaking technology tailored for a variety of industry end-users. This technology will eventually be manufactured and dispersed across the UK and the rest of the world.
During the Inquiry, Professor Bongs spoke about the ‘large potential in removing unknown underground conditions, which are major risks in infrastructure projects.’ He also touched upon the opportunities of ‘helping rail projects such as HS2’, and the ‘faster development of houses on brownfield sites’.
Professor Bongs also discussed the potential impact on the healthcare sector, where ‘magnetic sensors will allow us to look into the brain to discover more about its functionality, and to open up pathways for new diagnostics that range from concentration deficits in children to dementia in the ageing society.’
‘The potential’, he continued, ‘would be manifold, similar to the market potential of sensors themselves.’
Following the Inquiry, Norman Lamb wrote to the Treasury to ask the government to reach a decision on Phase II funding by the autumn.