Aquark Technologies demonstrates airborne cold atom system on a small drone

Source: Aquark Technologies

Aquark Technologies has successfully demonstrated continuous trapping of cold atoms suitable for sensing while flying on a drone. The world first achievement will support an array of applications, including enhanced navigation, precise measurements, and situational awareness, all with the potential to revolutionize multiple industries.


Aquark Technologies recently conducted field trials validating the trapping, cooling, and continuous operation of cold atoms while airborne on a quadcopter drone. The trials were run in partnership and joint-funded by MBDA and Innovate UK (Project: 10028190) and flown by Wright Airborne Computing.

The entire system, weighing less than 10 kg, withstood freezing temperatures, high humidity fog, and complex manoeuvres, operating for over an hour on internal power during full-day trials.

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Cold atom-based quantum technology leverages group one or two elements, such as Rubidium, in ultra-high vacuum conditions (>10-8 mbar) and precisely tuned lasers to confine and slow down atoms for the manipulation of quantum states of superposition and entanglement.

Cold atom-based quantum technology offer significant improvements for quantum computing and high-precision sensors, with implications for measuring: time, acceleration, electromagnetic waves, Magnetic fields, and rotation. Aquark’s unique and patented approach to trapping and cooling atoms without using magnetic fields makes these systems smaller, simpler, and more cost-effective.

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Andrei Dragomir, CEO, Aquark Technologies commented: “These trials yielded invaluable real-world operational data for Aquark’s platform technology and provided a transformational step towards off-the-shelf cold atom systems, from high-performance cold atom atomic clocks to gravimeters, with unprecedented precision and accuracy that will redefine the world of Quantum Technology.”

Marc Jones, Head of Innovation, MBDA UK Limited said, “Quantum technology holds the potential to be a breakthrough for defence. As MBDA looks towards the future of our products we believe that Aquark’s approach to cold atom quantum technology offers an exciting and compelling alternative to the current state of the art.” Further to this he added, “MBDA looks to build partnerships that deliver innovation and technical excellence. Identifying the latest technologies and emerging opportunities. With our partners, we look to build enduring relationships that improve our products and increase our worldwide competitiveness. Ultimately, delivering against our customers’ needs now and in the future.”



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