Dr Michael Holynski PhD

Dr Michael Holynski

School of Physics and Astronomy
Innovation Fellow

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Michael Holynski is an Innovation Fellow in the Cold Atoms research group, part of the Midlands Ultracold Atom Research Centre, and the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology. He leads the Atom Interferometry Team which undertakes the gravity sensing activity of the hub, with a focus on developing gravity and gravity gradient sensors and their use within applications.

Michael is Technical Lead of the Gravity Imager project, funded by DSTL, which is developing gravity gradiometers to increase technology readiness, and demonstrate applications of quantum technology. 

Michael is active in pushing for the commercialisation of quantum technology, and leads a portfolio of collaborative projects with industry, ranging from component development to system level realisation of industrial sensor prototypes. 


- PhD in Physics, University of Birmingham, 2012
- MSci in Physics, University of Birmingham, 2008


Michael Holynski obtained his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2012, on the creation of an experiment for the study of low dimensional systems using Bose-Einstein condensates.

Michael then joined the Instituto de Física de São Carlos of the Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil, as a FAPESP post-doctoral fellow to study cooperative scattering of light from cold strontium, design an atom-cavity experiment for both the study of new cavity-QED regimes, and to enable the continuous measurement of gravity using cold strontium. During his time based in São Carlos, Michael also undertook a visiting fellowship at the University of Birmingham, and worked in the team of Dr Jon Goldwin to realise collective strong coupling of potassium to a ring cavity.

In 2014, Michael returned to the University of Birmingham to lead the Atom Interferometry Team within the Cold Atoms group with Professor Kai Bongs. The initial focus of the team was on delivery of the European Commission project iSense, through the successful development of a transportable atom interferometer in collaboration with partners across Europe. Following on from this, the team is now undertaking the gravity sensing work of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensor and Metrology funded by EPSRC. This includes a range of activity focused on bringing cold atoms based gravity sensors to practical applications, covering sensor and sub-system development, and a significant translational activity through collaboration with industry through Innovate UK. A strong focus of the team is the Gravity Imager project funded by DSTL, which is developing gravity gradiometers to increase technology readiness and demonstrate field applications.

In 2017, Michael was appointed as an Innovation Fellow at the University of Birmingham. 


-       Coordinator of Y4 project area, Quantum Technology

-       Y4 project supervision

-       Coordinator of Y3 Atom Interferometry Group Study

Postgraduate supervision

-       Supervision of doctoral students undertaking research in atom interferometry and quantum technology


Research themes

  • Atom interferometry
  • Gravity and gravity gradiometry sensing
  • Quantum technology
  • Technology translation

Research and innovation projects

  • DSTL Gravity Imager, developing gravity gradiometers aiming to increase readiness and improve size, weight and power

-       EPSRC UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology:

  • Development of transportable absolute gravimeters
  • Development of gravity gradiometers
  • Development of test-bed systems for rapid quantum technology development

-       Innovate UK projects with industry partners:

  • Gravity Platform – studying motional influences on measurement
  • GRAM – studying applications in rivers, agriculture and mining
  • REVEAL – enabling industrial development of cold atoms gravity gradiometers
  • CASPA – developing a cold atoms payload for operation on a CubeSat
  • TORQUE – developing enhanced imaging and navigation models
  • CONE – developing high quality electronics and compact systems
  • Quantify – studying applications and mission concepts for cold atoms in space
  • DIFFRACT – pushing towards compact and cheap laser systems
  • QT-Shield – investigating novel shield manufacture aiming to reduce weight
  • ANAGRAM – realising a gravity system
  • FreezeRay and FreezeRay 2 – developing industrial sub-systems for cold atoms based technologies
  • Feasibility and market study for gravimeters
  • PAINTS – realising atom interferometry in a commercial setting

-       Gravity gradient technology opportunities project (GGTop)

-       Integrated quantum sensors (iSense)