About Gravity @ Birmingham

Gravity @ Birmingham brings together academics from different backgrounds in order to develop, trial and assess gravity sensors for both fundamental and applied studies.

This includes development of next generation quantum technology gravity sensors, understanding existing sensors, and developing potential applications through demonstration and modelling. In 2010 the GG-TOP Birmingham Civil engineers and physicists began collaboration to bring a new capability to underground sensing through exploitation of quantum technology (QT). Using a technique called atom interferometry, cold atoms are used as ideal test-masses to create a gravity sensor which can measure a gravity gradient rather than an absolute value. This suppresses several noise sources and creates a sensor useful in everyday applications. 

It brings together two complementary skill sets. While the physicists work on creating an advanced QT sensor, the Civil Engineering team provides guidance on how it needs to be used and what problems need to be addressed. This is a diverse activity, including close collaboration with end-users, such as geophysical surveying companies, to understand what the applications and limitations of existing technologies are, known as the ‘competitors’. This work is strongly supported by end-users such as RSK, Teledyne e2v, Gooch and Housego, MSquared Lasers and DSTL.

This collaboration has grown and become a key aspect of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, a £80M project aiming at bringing quantum science forward into applications. 

If you want to get in touch, please contact either Prof Kai Bongs (k.bongs@bham.ac.uk), Dr Michael Holynski (m.holynski@bham.ac.uk) or Dr Nicole Metje (n.metje@bham.ac.uk).