A University of Nottingham professor has gained national industry recognition after receiving a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies.
Melissa Mather, Professor in Quantum Sensing and Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, has been awarded £2.5 million over ten years to create the next generation of quantum sensors, by turning tiny flaws in diamond into incredibly sensitive quantum devices, which will transform the way we sense the world around us.
Funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Chair in Emerging Technologies scheme provides awardees with long-term support and funds to cover employment and research costs, helping to bring their research to fruition. Professor Mather has now become one of six high-calibre researchers to receive a Chair of this kind across the UK this year.
She said: “I’m incredibly honoured to have been chosen by the Royal Academy of Engineering to undertake my Chair in Emerging Technologies. I feel very privileged to be able to say that I’m doing my dream job and hope that, through this research, I’ll be able to engage, educate, and maybe even inspire other people by opening their eyes to the world of quantum and the possibilities it creates – not just for industry but on an everyday level too.”
Diamond quantum sensors can be used for a variety of measurements, including magnetic fields, temperature, pressure, and even biological or chemical substances. But Professor Mather’s work will enhance the measurement speeds and sensitivity of these sensors to create customised sensing methods and prototype devices that will translate the technology for use by non-specialists, as well as unlocking new applications in sectors such as healthcare, food security, defence, and more.
Sam Kingman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “I am delighted that Melissa has been recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The work she’s doing around quantum technology is incredibly exciting and will become integral to our day-to-day lives in the years to come. On behalf of the university, I’d like to congratulate her on this fantastic achievement, and I look forward to watching her research progress over the next decade and the realisation of the global impact that it will enable.”
As part of the award, a brand-new Diamond Quantum Sensing Research Hub is to be established, which will be based at the university’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, to catalyse new opportunities for collaboration and allow access to specialist skills, knowledge, and equipment to further innovation.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “I am truly delighted that we are able to support such outstanding engineers and visionary individuals who will champion these emerging technologies and the significant opportunities they offer to make the world a better place for everyone.
“The Academy places huge importance on supporting excellence in engineering and often the key to engineers fulfilling their potential in tackling global challenges is the gift of time and continuity of support to bring the most disruptive and impactful ideas to fruition.”