Quantum entrepreneurs show their stuff

Quantum tech being used in medical screening, drone-based gas-leak detection and cryptography
15th May 2017

Three of the entrepreneurs on this year’s programme at the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre (QTEC) have been discussing their technology developments.

The entrepreneurs have been using quantum technology to develop handheld sensors to measure water quality and detect bacteria in hospitals, for detecting gas leaks from pipelines via drones and for quantum cryptography.

The QTEC course at the University of Bristol combines business training with technology development and is looking to recruit 11 more entrepreneurs for next year’s programme.

Neciah Dorh of FluoretiQ (above) is developing a handheld fluorescent sensor that is 100 times more sensitive than today’s systems. The first product is for testing water quality by detecting bacteria at a level of parts per trillion.

Dorh is also looking at using the sensor to detect the bacteria that cause sepsis in hospital. This currently takes from 10 to 24 hours, so he is working with the department of medicine in an InnovateUK project to develop a chemical tag for the bacteria so that a handheld sensor that can provide a result instantly.

Mixing quantum tech with drones

Meanwhile Xiao Ai has been working on ways to use single photon measurement technology to detect gas leaks from pipelines. His company, Quantum Light Metrology, is using quantum sensor technology licensed by the University of Bristol to Swiss company IDQ to build a lightweight sensor that can be installed on a drone.

The software allows the sensor to detect the gas leaks from a distance of 50m from a drone moving at 30mph, and QLM is working with drone operator Sky-Futures to monitor pipelines and gas installations around the world.

Quantum security

The most advanced technology in the programme is aiming to provide quantum cryptography for communications systems. KETS Quantum Security has developed a commercial chip that can make unbreakable cryptography systems that are ten times smaller, faster and cheaper than today’s systems, says Philip Sibson, chief technology officer. The technology has been demonstrated in the lab and the company, now with five people, is working with a European defence company on using the system on a drone.

Interested in doing it yourself? You can see how to apply for QTEC’s next programme here.