Scientific Partners

Leading quantum research centres around the world contribute to Quantum Shorts, together with the organiser, the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, and media partners Nature and Scientific American. Learn more about them and their research.

Dodd-Walls Centre

The Dodd-Walls Centre is a national Centre of Research Excellence involving five NZ universities, hosted by the University of Otago. Our research focuses on New Zealand’s acknowledged strength in the fields of precision atomic and quantum optical physics, with our name drawn from two kiwi pioneers in these fields. Our research explores the limits of control and measurement at the atomic scale through the use of laser light, the generation and manipulation of light at its most fundamental, quantum level and the processing and physical nature of information in this quantum realm. The Dodd-Walls Centre also actively promotes science education and outreach to the wider public through partnership with Otago Museum and other organisations nationally.



The ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems unites leading researchers from five Australian universities in building quantum machines that harness the full spectrum of quantum physics.


The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) is a research institute at the University of Waterloo in Canada. IQC was founded in 2002 and today hosts over thirty research groups studying quantum information through the lens of mathematics, computer science, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Our researchers are developing new ideas and technologies for quantum computing, communication, sensors, and materials. IQC is training the current and future quantum workforce, supporting industry through shared infrastructure and expertise, and making quantum science accessible at all levels.



The Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) at Caltech in the US is a Physics Frontiers Center supported by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. IQIM researchers study physical systems in which the weirdness of the quantum world becomes manifest on macroscopic scales. Our research programs span quantum information science, quantum condensed matter physics, quantum optics, and the quantum mechanics of mechanical systems.


QuTech is a mission-driven institute that will develop scalable prototypes of a quantum computer and inherently safe quantum internet based on superposition and entanglement, by bringing world-class scientists, engineers and industry together in an inspiring environment. QuTech is a collaboration between Delft University of Applied Sciences and Dutch innovation center TNO. QuTech is supported by the Dutch government as National Icon, bringing quantum science and engineering together.


UK National Quantum Technologies Programme

The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme is a £1B investment by the UK government to ensure the successful transition of quantum technologies from laboratory to industry. The programme aims to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion pound new quantum technology markets.

Organisations supported through the programme coordinate on public engagement under the theme of Quantum City. Those participating in Quantum Shorts are as follows:



QuantIC is the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging and is part of the £270M UK National Quantum Technology Programme. It brings together world-leading quantum technologists at the Universities of Glasgow, Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Exeter, Strathclyde, Southampton and Imperial College London, with more than 30 global industrial partners to pioneer a family of multidimensional cameras operating across a range of wavelengths, time-scales and length-scales, creating a new industrial landscape for imaging systems and their applications in areas such as security, medical imaging, scientific instrumentation, oil and gas, energy and defence.


Quantum Communications Hub

The EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub, funded through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, is a synergistic partnership of ten UK universities (Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Kent, Oxford, Queen’s Belfast, Sheffield, Strathclyde, and the lead – York), private sector companies and public sector bodies that have come together in a unique collaboration to exploit fundamental laws of quantum physics for the development of secure communications technologies and services. The main vision of the Quantum Communications Hub is to deliver future-proof, practical, secure communications by exploiting the commercialisation potential of existing prototype quantum secure technologies beyond their current limitations; to contribute to the establishment of a quantum communications technology industry in the UK; and to feed its future expansion, competiveness, diversification and sustainability.


Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology

Led by the University of Birmingham, the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Timing brings together expertise in physics and engineering from the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Nottingham, Imperial, Southampton, Strathclyde, Sussex and the British Geological Survey, and over 50 industry partners, including NPL. The Hub’s teams are working to transform laboratory-based research into technology. They are developing smaller, cheaper, more accurate and energy efficient components and systems to build and sustain a supply chain which will have a potentially transformative impact across business and society as a whole.



The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK’s National Measurement Institute, providing the measurement expertise that underpins economic growth and quality of life in the UK. From new antibiotics and more effective cancer treatments, to unhackable quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed. Our science, engineering and technology helps to make the impossible possible. We are a world-leading research facility with over 500 scientists and engineers working in almost every field to save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel safe and secure, as well as to support international trade and innovation.



Based in Imperial College, the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) on Controlled Quantum Dynamics offers students a supportive and exciting environment to carry out a PhD level research project together with taught coursework in the emerging field of controlled Quantum Dynamics (CQD) which focusses on turning the quantum behaviour of nanostructures in areas such as quantum information processing, quantum cryptography, nano-scale devices, sensors and quantum metrology.’

The UCL Quantum Science & Technology Institute (UCLQ), based in central London brings together over 120 researchers and 30 research groups working at the forefront of quantum technologies, from foundations through to applications, helping to develop this fast-advancing field of research.

UCLQ Research areas span quantum computer science, electrical and systems engineering, as well as quantum physics, and falls within four major themes: 1. Quantum Sensors and Metrology; 2. Scalable Quantum Computers; 3. Quantum Interfaces and Communication; and 4. Quantum Algorithms, Architectures and Complex Systems. UCL’s Doctoral Program in Quantum Technologies prepares students to operate in a complex research and engineering landscape where quantum physics meets cryptography, complexity and information theory, devices, materials, software and hardware engineering.

The University of Bristol's Quantum Engineering CDT offers a unique training and development experience for those wishing to pursue a career in the emerging quantum technologies industry. It supports the understanding of sound fundamental scientific principles and much more. Students are given the opportunity to put their burgeoning knowledge of science and engineering into practice from the outset. The CDT is housed at the Quantum Engineering Technology Labs (QET Labs) which was launched in April 2015 and encompasses the activity of over 100 researchers and students, 12 core academics and 40 associated academics in the faculties of Science and Engineering at the University of Bristol.

Quantum Theories: A to Z

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This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

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These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

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Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

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Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

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Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

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To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

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The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.

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The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

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Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

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Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a way to create secure cryptographic keys, allowing for more secure communication.

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The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. This doesn’t seem to follow the laws of physics which work the same going forward or backward in time. Some physicists argue that there is a more fundamental quantum source for the arrow of time.

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Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

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Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics and is a technology to build qubits for quantum computers.

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Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

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Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

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Quantum physics is the study of nature at the very small. Mathematics is one language used to formalise or describe quantum phenomena.

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This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

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Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

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Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

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Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

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Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

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Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

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Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

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Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

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These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

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Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer

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We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

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Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

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People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

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Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

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Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

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Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

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The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

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Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

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One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

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Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

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When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

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Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

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Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

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When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

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In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

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Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

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Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

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Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

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Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

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Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

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Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

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Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

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Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.

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