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EIC Pathfinder grant award to QuCoM

The University of Southampton, the Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Trieste have come together, after a 4.5 year project called TEQ (Horizon H2020), with a new Consortium to present to the European Commission a new project proposal in the frame of the HORIZON-EIC-2021-PATHFINDEROPEN-01-01 call. Together with the University of Leiden, Leiden Cryogenics S BV and Leiden Spin Imaging, the consortium consists of two experimentalists, two theorists, and two SMEs.

The project, named QuCoM, was submitted to the Commission in May 2021 and has received a positive evaluation.

The main objective of QuCoM is to demonstrate the proof of concept (TRL 1) of a levitated acceleration sensor and its ability detecting gravity of small masses and in the quantum controlled regime. Toward this objective the Consortium will explore the interplay between quantum mechanics and gravity in a parameter range accessible for cost-effective table-top experiments. Also, partners will investigate quantum superpositions in which these masses are delocalized and address some of the most popular theoretical proposals combining quantum physics and gravity in a nonstandard fashion. The proposed experiments will assess their limits of validity and/or further constrain the values of their parameters.

The experiments in question will be performed with optically and magnetically trapped micro/nano-particles based on the experimental expertise of partners in the consortium. Levitated mechanics experiments at Southampton have been already picked up by the EU Innovation Radar within the TEQ project. The state preparation, control and analysis schemes are based on the expertise of the theory partners.

QuCoM will also have a high technological impact and will play a big role in innovation. High-tech SMEs will contribute in optimizing the experimental apparatus for fulfilment of the targeted objectives, which will in turn put them in a position to offer their improved products in sub mK, low vibration cryogenic equipment to market. In particular, the LSI will explore, together with University of Leiden, the feasibility of implementing our technology into a micro-satellite platform for space-based metrology and Earth Exploration utilizing gravitational detection.

With a total grant amount of 2 753 179,00 Euros, the project will last 3 years.


Project manager
Irene Spagnul
Department of Physics
University of Trieste


Co-funded by the European Commission’s
Horizon Europe Programme under GA 101046973

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