The University of Birmingham aims to test its quantum-enabled radar detection system using compact atomic clock oscillators

The University of Birmingham, UK, has announced plans to test the precision of its quantum-enabled radar detection system, following its installation on top of the university’s engineering building.

The radar technology being displayed at the demonstration is dependent on the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing’s compact atomic clock oscillators. These oscillators provide the high precision and low signal noise required for the radar to detect small, slow moving objects, such as drones, at longer distances, and even in cluttered environments.

The Quantum Technology Hub is led by the University of Birmingham and partnered with the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, Sussex, Imperial, Nottingham, Southampton as well as the National Physics Laboratory and the British Geological Survey. It has a close focus on industrial collaboration and partnership and, in line with this, the radars are being developed and installed by Aveillant, a radar technology company whose mission is to move radar technology into the information age by powering a full digital picture of the sky.

Dr Dominic Walker, Chief Executive Officer of Aveillant, said: “We are delighted that our Holographic Radars are being used in this programme. At Aveillant we are always looking to push the boundaries of our technology and working with some of the UK’s leading academic institutions such as the University of Birmingham, is allowing us to do just that.”

Radar detection is required for a wide range of sectors. For example, high precision radar will ensure autonomous vehicles can detect hazards well ahead of time. Hub academics are also developing next generation distributed radar systems, which will transform surveillance by providing much greater coverage and maintaining real-time situational awareness in highly congested and cluttered environments.

The EPRSC-funded project Mapping and Enabling Future Airspace (MEFA), based at the University of Birmingham, will also benefit from the radar installation. MEFA is a three-year interdisciplinary project that aims to investigate how radar can be used to study the effects of urban developments on migrating birds, and to differentiate between flying birds and small drones. Data collected during the radar installation will be incredibly beneficial for the MEFA project.

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