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Quantum circuits with a levitated heart

The latest development in this UKRI and European Research Council-funded project explores how the motion of charged microparticles can be detected and affected by nearby electrical circuitry, such that they can form a crucial component in a quantum network.

Microparticles will be levitated within circuits and interfaced with quantum devices to act as nodes in a quantum network. Photo credit: Mark Mazaitis for Dr James Millen.
Microparticles will be levitated within circuits and interfaced with quantum devices to act as nodes in a quantum network. Photo credit: Mark Mazaitis for Dr James Millen.

A collaboration between King’s College London, Imperial College London and the University of Duissburg-Essen has found a way to strengthen quantum networks by levitating key components, whilst simultaneously exploring the boundaries of quantum mechanics.

The research published in npj Quantum Information is part of two major research programmes at King’s. EPSRC New Investigator Award LevElectro has developed the technology to levitate microparticles within electrical circuits, and ERC Starting Grant LeviTeQ looks at the quantum applications of these tiny floating objects.

Dr James Millen, senior lecturer in advanced photonics, and King’s lead on the projects, commented:

Electrical circuits are full of tiny moving parts, from gyroscopes to the antennas in your smartphones. We investigate levitating the core of these technologies to improve their performance. By extending our applications into the quantum realm, we can fill in major gaps in existing quantum technologies, such as the ability to store quantum information, or distribute entanglement. Most exciting to me is that, by working with quantum circuits, we can investigate the quantum behaviour of relatively massive levitated microparticles, fundamentally altering our understanding of physics at the nano-technological scale.– Dr James Millen

Find out more about this research from the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Levitated Nanophysics Group. James is also lead of the Quantum Workshop public engagement project, which demonstrates how levitation works.

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James Millen

James Millen

Senior Lecturer