To make this website work, we log user data. By using Shephard's online services, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.

Open menu Search

Prototype quantum navigation sensor tested on Royal Navy experiments ship

26th May 2023 - 12:30 GMT | by Harry Lye in London


Imperial's quantum accelerometer offers highly accurate location data by using ultra-cold atoms. (Photo: Imperial College)

A prototype quantum sensor for future navigation – developed by Imperial College London – has been tested onboard the UK RN's research ship XV Patrick Blackett.

The quantum sensor has the potential to offer highly accurate location data in GPS and GNSS-free environments.

The solution, a new type of accelerometer, uses ultra-cold atoms to make highly accurate measurements.

Accelerometers measure how an object's velocity changes over time, this, combined with rotation measurements and the object's initial position, allows a current location to be calculated.

However, these sensors drift over time without checking in with an external reference point such as a satellite, diminishing their accuracy.

When cooled, the atoms take on a quantum nature giving them wave-like properties.

As the atoms move through the sensor, a

Access this article and other Decisive Edge Newsletter news content with a free basic account

Create account

You will also get one free Premium News article each week

Already have an account? Log in

Harry Lye


Harry Lye

Harry Lye was Senior Naval Reporter at Shephard Media.

Harry joined the company in 2021, …

Read full bio

Share to