University of Sheffield launches Quantum centre to develop the technologies of tomorrow

  • University of Sheffield launches new research centre to revolutionise computing, communication, sensing and imaging technologies
  • Sheffield Quantum Centre will develop materials, devices and information technology protocols with unprecedented capabilities and performance
  • New research centre will include £2.1 million Quantum Technology Capital equipment capable of growing state-of-the-art semiconductor materials
  • Research into quantum technologies is a high priority area for the UK, with northern universities playing a significant role in their development

Conceptual artwork representing how data may be controlled and stored in a quantum computer

A new research centre with the potential to revolutionise computing, communication, sensing and imaging technologies is set to be launched by the University of Sheffield this week (22 January 2020).

The Sheffield Quantum Centre, which will be officially opened by Lord Jim O’Neill, Chair of Chatham House and University of Sheffield alumnus, is bringing together more than 70 of the University’s leading scientists and engineers to develop new quantum technologies.

Quantum technologies are a broad range of new materials, devices and information technology protocols in physics and engineering. They promise unprecedented capabilities and performance by exploiting phenomena that cannot be explained by classical physics.

Quantum technologies could lead to the development of more secure communications technologies and computers that can solve problems far beyond the capabilities of existing computers.

Research into quantum technologies is a high priority for the UK and many countries around the world. The UK government has invested heavily in quantum research as part of a national programme and has committed £1 billion in funding over 10 years.

Led by the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Department of Computer Science, the Sheffield Quantum Centre will join a group of northern universities that are playing a significant role in the development of quantum technologies.

The University of Sheffield has a strong presence in quantum research with world leading capabilities in crystal growth, nanometre scale device fabrication and device physics research. A spin-out company has already been formed to help commercialise research, with another in preparation.

Professor Maurice Skolnick, Director of the Sheffield Quantum Centre, said: “The University of Sheffield already has very considerable strengths in the highly topical area of quantum science and technology. I have strong expectation that the newly formed centre will bring together these diverse strengths to maximise their impact, both internally and more widely across UK universities and funding bodies.”

During the opening ceremony, the Sheffield Quantum Centre will also launch its new £2.1 million Quantum Technology Capital equipment.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the equipment is a molecular beam epitaxy cluster tool designed to grow very high quality wafers of semiconductor materials – types of materials that have numerous everyday applications such as in mobile phones and lasers that drive the internet.

The semiconductor materials also have many new quantum applications which researchers are focusing on developing.

Professor Jon Heffernan from the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, added: “The University of Sheffield has a 40-year history of pioneering developments in semiconductor science and technology and is host to the National Epitaxy Facility. With the addition of this new quantum technologies equipment I am confident our new research centre will lead to many new and exciting technological opportunities that can exploit the strange but powerful concepts from quantum science.”

For more information on the Sheffield Quantum Centre, including how to study or collaborate with its researchers, visit: Sheffield Quantum Centre

Additional information

Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield

Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield

Computer Science at the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852