UCL News


Quantum Computing and Predicting Polymorphs - UCL celebrates £5.4 million grant for Basic Technology Projects

28 January 2003

Two of UCL's most pioneering basic technology projects have been awarded grants totalling £5.

4 million in the latest round of funding from the Government's Basic Technology Programme. The programme supported by Research Councils UK was set up to assist in the development of fundamental new technologies that will change the face of scientific, engineering and technology endeavour in Britain over the next 20 years.

In an ambitious four year project (the first of its kind in the world) Professor Marshall Stoneham FRS, UCL Massey Professor and Director of the Centre for Materials Research will attempt to put the Quantum into Information Technology. He proposes to design, manufacture and implement linked quantum gates, the basic components of a future quantum computer, using processes consistent with silicon technology and capable of operation at room temperature. If successful, these quantum information devices will revolutionise future generations of personal computers.

A second project, led by Professor Sally Price from UCL's Department of Chemistry aims to develop a computational method of predicting the possible crystal structures (polymorphs) of a molecule, perhaps before it even is synthesised. This ground-breaking research will benefit all industries involved in the manufacture of organic materials - from chocolate to pharmaceuticals. The project is multi-disciplinary and will result in the ability to predict when polymorphism is likely as well as developing the technology for characterising the polymorphs to help manufacturers control the polymorph produced.

Both these projects combine an interdisciplinary approach with a high degree of collaboration amongst world-class research expertise in the UK. To celebrate the £5.4 million grant, UCL will be hosting an event at the University of London's Senate House on Tuesday 28th January 2003 from 1pm - 4pm. The event is aimed at increasing awareness of the Government's Basic Technology Programme. Both UCL projects are potentially high value research pipelines for future UK commercial exploitation and are the focus of great intellectual excitement worldwide.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The event to celebrate the £5.4 million grant will be held at Chancellors Hall, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU on Tuesday 28th January 2003 from 1pm - 4pm. The event will include briefings from Professor Stoneham and Professor Price. To attend the briefings or arrange an interview with either Professor Stoneham or Professor Price
  2. The EPSRC is overseeing the Basic Technology Research Programme on behalf of all the Research Councils. The Research Councils involved in the Programme are: The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) The Medical Research Council (MRC) The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) More information regarding the Basic Technology Programme can be found here.