Quantum Systems Engineering Research Group

About the group

The QSE Research Group at Loughborough brings together a unique team of leading academic from diverse backgrounds - including quantum technologists, scientists, engineers and end users - in order to develop the methodology that will become Quantum Systems Engineering. Our interest in (Quantum [Systems) Engineering] spans the engineering of quantum-systems and the systems-engineering approach to quantum technologies.

What we do

Currently our group is actively researching the following areas:

  • The application of Systems Engineering Methods to accelerate Blue-Sky and low technology readiness level devices and technologies.
  • The development of new Systems Engineering methods that will be needed in the quantum technologies industry specifically in the areas of Quantum Design for Test, Reliability, Manufacture, etc. Here, for example, we are pioneering the use of phase space methods for feedback & control and certification of quantum systems.
  • Additive manufacture for developing quantum technologies (currently our work is focused on superconductors).
  • Quantum reliability engineering with an aim to develop a universal analysis of failure laboratory.
  • Development of computer aided engineering solutions for the modeling and simulation of quantum technologies.
  • Delivery of systems engineering training and mechanisms to enhance collaboration with the sector.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss collaboration or training opportunities.

What Is Quantum Systems Engineering (QSE)?

QSE is a new approach to developing quantum technologies that will comprise a set of tools and techniques to enable the successful design of products that rely on non-classical phenomena such as non-locality and entanglement.

Systems engineering is applied to the the development of the vast majority of products we see around us in the world today. It is an approach that takes into account many factors from a high level understanding of the user’s requirements to detailed design of individual components as part of the system.

Classical systems engineering can in be viewed as the engineering of the emergent behaviours of a complex system, and it will be no different for the quantum equivalent. A good example of such systems level thinking can be found in designing components to minimise the damaging effects of electrostatic discharge. Here it was found that optimisation to protect an individual components led to less than optimal designs for the product as a whole. This epitomises the systems view that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that, through careful engineering, one can take advantage of emergent properties of complex systems.

By analogy, it is evident that in developing quantum technologies considerations of entanglement, decoherence and non-locality will impact significantly on the design process. An example of how this sort of thinking is already being applied, albeit in a limited sense, to quantum technologies is in the engineering of quantum enhancing environments and channels.

In order to ensure proper performance of quantum devices, consideration must be given to appropriate testing at the design stage (Design for Test [DfT], performance requirements and Design for Reliability [DfR]). Unlike laboratory science which can afford bespoke solutions products will also need to be designed with the manufacture process in mind (Design for Manufacture [DfM]). Additional considerations of concern to quantum systems engineers and where the adoption of quantum technologies include: end of life cycle and life cycle costing, support, risk and the impact of requirement changes cost, etc.

The purpose of QSE is to realise the benefits of quantum technologies in real systems and devices; this implies additional considerations of end of life cycle and life cycle costing, support, risk and the impact of requirement changes cost, etc.  These aspects have not been considered hitherto in quantum technologies research.  The motivation for establishing the new approach, called QSE, is to achieve construction and operation of practical quantum devices by 2019.

More details can be found in our perspective piece: Quantum Systems Engineering: A structured approach to accelerating the development of a quantum technology industry.