| Project of the Month - September 2012

SPANGL4Q - Spin Photon Angular Momentum Transfer for Quantum Enabled Technologies

FP7 Future and Emerging Technologies project. SPANGL4Q is bringing together researchers in Physics and Electronic Engineering across the EU and Russia, to understand the physics behind a quantum computer memory.

Project details

Start date: 2012-03-01
End date: 2015-02-28
Duration: 36 months
Project Reference: 284743
Project cost: 2,599,534 EURO
Project funding: 1,965,153 EURO
Programme: FP7-ICT
Subprogramme: Challenging current thinking
Contract type: Collaborative project (generic)

Project website: www.spangl4q.eu

Project overview

SPANGL4Q, “Spin-to-Photon Angular momentum transfer for Quantum enabled technologies” aims to deliver a new means to store information in a quantum computer.

This “quantum memory” is vital for quantum information processing, a future technology which will one day make computing much faster, and allow absolutely secure telecommunications. The quantum memory is a single particle capable of storing information for times long enough to transport light from one place to another.

The project team is made up of six partners: four EU partners, Bristol University in the UK, the University of Würzburg and TU Dortmund in Germany, and the FOM institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and two in Russia: the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute for Solid State Physics (RAS-ISSP) in Chernogolovka, and the Russian Academy of Science’s Ioffe Physical Technical Institute in St.Petersburg.

The team are aiming to produce a quantum memory that is able to store unique quantum information in the spins of nuclei for orders of magnitude longer than is possible in other systems, and to pass that information on to light particles.  This will involve the development of a range of semiconductor photonic devices, and a study of the underlying physics behind the devices’ behaviour.

Both Russian groups will make vital contributions to the project.  State-of-the-art facilities in RAS-ISSP will allow researchers to apply very high magnetic fields to nanoscale components, and to  probe them using “ultrafast” lasers and detectors capable of detecting changes to a few thousand billionths of a second.

The Ioffe Institute, famous for decades for its comprehensive knowledge of semiconductor physics on the nanoscale, will aim to develop a theory for the interaction of light with these quantum memories.

The ensuing technology will enable absolutely secure transmission of bank details and other secure information over a global scale for the first time. In the future, computers with this quantum technology will allow us to perform operations that will never be possible with conventional computer technology.


  • University of Bristol, UK (coordinator)
  • Wuerzburg University, Germany
  • TU Dortmund, Germany
  • FOM Institute AMOLF, Netherlands
  • Institute for Solid State Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
  • Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, Russican Academy of Sciences, Russia


Principal Investigator:
Dr. Ruth Oulton
Depts of Physics and Electrical Engineering
University of Bristol