November 2022

Quantum Sensors for the Hidden Sector (QSHS) – A Summary of Our First Year!

“Quantum Sensors for the Hidden Sector (QSHS) – A Summary of Our First Year!”

In 2021 the Quantum Sensors for the Hidden Sector (QSHS) collaboration was founded in the UK. We received funding as part of the Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics programme to develop and demonstrate quantum devices with the potential to detect hidden-sector particles such as axions and dark photons in the ~1μeV/c^2 to ~100μeV/c^2 mass window. Our collaboration is formed from a diverse community of condensed matter physicists, quantum technologists, theorists and (astro) particle physics experimentalists. We are designing and fabricating a range of “quantum devices” and constructing a high-field, low-temperature facility at the University of Sheffield to characterise and test the devices in an axion haloscope geometry, initially using an rf cavity. This poster was presented at the 17th Patras workshop on axions, WIMPs and WISPs on the 8th August 2022 in Mainz,
submitted by Dr Ian Bailey, University of Lancaster

The Cold, The Dark and The Invisible

We were pleased to be able to celebrate Dark Matter Day, not on the usual recognised Dark Matter Day of 31 October but slightly later, on Monday 21st November 2022, where Professor Ed Daw gave an interesting talk to Year 12 students and upwards on The Cold, The Dark and The Invisible. Over 100 attended this Outreach event.

Celebration of Dark Matter Day Outreach event (21 November 2022)

Uk National Quantum Showcase 2022, London

Collaboration members exhibit; Ed Romans, Ling Hao, John Gallop and Bhaswati Chakraborty at UK National Quantum Showcase 2022, attended by over 1000 visitors on 11th November.

John Gallop & Bhaswati Chakraborty at Quantum Showcase 2022 Exhibition

For further details visit the UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase.

QSHS Flyer is available for download

Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics Engagement Event – Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd February 2023

STFC/EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, are hosting a two day in-person event on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd February 2023, at Warwick Conferences (, to promote engagement between scientists and engineers from different types of expertise on quantum technologies and fundamental physics research.

Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics (QTFP) is a £40m programme funded through the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund and part of the National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP). The first seven projects were awarded in late 2020, this event will demonstrate the progress that has been achieved so far as well as discuss the future ambitions in this growing space.

The event will be free to attend and open to all communities, but is primarily a scientific event for those across all career stages from the STFC core sciences, EPSRC quantum sciences and technologies and the NQTP.

Registration is via Eventbrite – Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics Engagement Event Tickets, Thu 2 Feb 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite and closes on the 6th January 2023 If you have any queries please contact

Research Directions – Quantum Technologies

Research Directions – Quantum Technologies launching 2023. Cambridge University Press announce new journal. Click here for further information.

New journal by Cambridge University Press

UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2022

We are pleased to announce that we’ll be exhibiting at the UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2022 at the QEII Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3EE, on 11th November.
Be sure to register below so you don’t miss out!

Register here.

The exhibition will open to delegates/visitors between 9:15am and 4:00pm. We look forward to seeing you there, you will find the QTFP/QSHS project collaborators at Stand no. 1.

American Physical Society News article

An interesting article published in American Physical Society (APS) News, September 2022 (Vol. 31, No. 8) on ‘building a skilled workforce – education in quantum mechanics’. Read the article here.

October 2022

QSHS project is recruiting!

We have a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Research Associate/Senior Research Associate in Superconducting Quantum Devices for Dark Matter Experiments at our project partner institution, Lancaster University. The post is full time, fixed term for 2 years, with an immediate start date. For further details and an application form visit Job Vacancies, Lancaster University. Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Yuri Pashkin (email: Closing date: 20th November 2022.

QSHS members site visit to Oxford Instruments

QSHS members visit Oxford Instruments and met with the technical team members who will build the Proteox Dilution Fridge and Magnet. Work is scheduled to start October 2022.

Courtesy of Oxford Instruments
Courtesy of Oxford Instruments

September 2022

Quantum Systems Theory Workshop

The QSHS collaboration organised a Quantum Systems Theory workshop at IPPP, Durham, 6th-8th September 2022. This was an invitation only meeting attended by members of the Collaboration, with talks on Quantum Systems Theory. The meeting ended with planning and discussion of our activities over the next 12 months. We are grateful to IPPP for their contribution and help in organising this event, and to our special guests for their input.

Members of the QSHS collaboration and invited guests

A special thank you to our guest speakers (John Gough (University of Aberystwyth), Saptarshi Chaudhuri (Princeton University), Pieter Kok (University of Sheffield), Stafford Withington (University of Cambridge).

Stafford Withington

Cosmology and Astrophysics Meeting, Durham, 8th September 2022

During the same week there was a Cosmology and Astrophysics meeting, organised by Organising Committee (Martin Bauer, Fran Chadha-Day, Jamie McDonald) where a QSHS talk, titled ‘Overview talk on QSHS – A UK search for hidden sector dark matter’ was presented by Ed Daw.

Ed Daw presenting an Overview of QSHS to the Cosmology and Astrophysics Meeting, Durham

Particle Astrophysics Roadmap

The Particle Astrophysics Advisory Panel is pleased to announce that the 2022 Particle Astrophysics Roadmap is now available on the STFC website:

August 2022

QTFP funding

£500,000 is awarded for developing dark matter detection with a project titled “ParaPara: A Quantum parametric amplifier using quantum paraelectricity”, led by Ed Laird, Yuri Pashkin and Ian Bailey, Lancaster University in collaboration with University College London. Funded as part of the Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics Programme.

Read more: Physicists developing a dark matter detector.

Oxford Instruments

We are delighted to announce that the QSHS dilution refrigerator and magnet are being built by Oxford Instruments.

Oxford Instruments made the announcement on 4th August 2022. Read here.

We look forward to working closely with Oxford Instruments over the next few months. Watch this space for further updates.

Courtesy of Oxford Instruments
An Oxford Instruments ProteoxMX – Photo courtesy of Oxford Instruments
An Oxford Instruments ProteoxMX – photo courtesy of Oxford Instruments.

LT29 Best Poster Award

We are pleased to announce that Searbhán Ó Peatáin, University of Lancaster, PhD student with QSHS, received the LT29 Best Poster Award at the International Conference on Low Temperature Physics for the poster P20-SF4-17: Comparison of Simulation and Experimental Results of Travelling Wave JPAs in the Three Wave Mixing Regime. Many congratulations to Searbhán.

July 2022

James Webb space images revealed

James Webb space telescope images are truly amazing! See the images for yourself in Webb News – they are simply stunning.

June 2022

QSHS Collaboration meeting, NPL, 27th June 2022

The QSHS project groups met for a Collaboration meeting, hosted by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), on 27th June 2022. It was a great opportunity to hear talks from the young researchers working on the QSHS project and updates on the excellent progress being made. The meeting ended with a tour of NPL. Our thanks to all involved, especially to Ling Hao, Gemma Chapman, Jamie Potter and John Gallop for hosting the event.

QSHS project members 2022 in front of the NPL building

A tour of the NPL was fascinating, and what an amazing place to work in for delivering these large-scale research projects.

Lab tour at NPL

Our meeting finished with some time for networking and more discussion on the QSHS project (below).

Pint of Science 2022

If you missed the Pint of Science event in Lancaster last month, you can catch a demonstration by Ed Laird, QSHS project investigator, of how we infer the existence of dark matter (see below). If all you can see is the balloon, you still know something must be pulling on the string. All we can see is orbiting stars, but we can still infer that dark matter must be pulling on them. Interesting hey?

May 2022

Outreach event: Particles, Polymers and Periodicity

Dr Edward Laird, discusses searching for dark matter using quantum technology at the Outreach event: Pint of Science, 10th May 2022. The event was attended by over 40 people and received excellent feedback. Pint of Science.

Introducing the QSHS project students:

Searbhán Ó Peatáin, PhD Student, working with Prof. Yuri Pashkin, University of Lancaster.

Mitch Perry, PhD student, working with Prof. Ed Daw, University of Sheffield.

Mitch Perry

Clem Mostyn, PhD Student (STFC funded) joins the QSHS in September 2022.

April 2022

Lab refurbishment preparations begin

Preparations begin with the refurbishment of two laboratories to house QSHS equipment in Sheffield. Watch this space for further updates.

March 2022

QSHS Twitter account is launched

Follow us on twitter @info_qshs

STFC tweet the published paper by Professor Ed Daw IWAVE.

A pdf version of this paper is available here.

Postdoctoral Researchers join QSHS

Despite the pandemic we managed to recruit excellent and highly skilled PDRAs to the QSHS project in 2021/22. A warm welcome to all.

Paul Smith – Sheffield PDRA, previous experience: MICE target mechanism, instrumentation and electronics.

Bhaswati Chakaborty – UCL PDRA, previous experience: synthesis of transition metal dichalcogenides, 2D materials, nanocomposites.

Gemma Chapman – NPL PDRA, previous experience: silicon based quantum technologies, low temperature electrical measurements, on-wafer microwave measurements.

Mahesh Soni – Lancaster PDRA, previous experience: device simulation and fabrication, low temperature tests. Mahesh left QSHS in August 2022 to take up a position in industry; we wish him well for the future.

Michele Piscitelli – Oxford PDRA, previous experience: detection of microwave photons with qubits, nanoscale magnetic resonance.

Ningqiang Song – Liverpool PDRA, previous experience: particle phenomenology, with special focus on dark matter and neutrinos.

Future Leaders Fellowship awarded to Ed Hardy, University of Liverpool

We are delighted to announce that Ed Hardy has been awarded a prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship. We wish him well in his future endeavours. Read more about the Future Leaders Fellowship here.

January 2022

Angela Warren joins the QSHS collaboration as Project Manager. If you have any specific questions about the project, please contact Angela in the first instance by email at

Angela Warren, QSHS Project Manager

September 2021 – Press Releases

You can access the various press releases and coverage of the QSHS project, it’s funding and collaborators using the links provided:

Lancaster University, News, 13 January 2021.

UKRI Gateway,

University of Sheffield, 13 January 2021.

Cambridge Independent News, 22 January 2021,

University of Nottingham issued a press release on 13 January 2021: Quantum projects launched to solve universe’s mysteries

University of Liverpool issues news on 13 January 2021:

EurekAlert! AAAS 12 February 2021

UCL news 13 January 2021

University of Cambridge News, 13 January 2021,

IPPP, Durham, Coseners Dark Meeting Quantum Sensing for the hidden sector See Slides Here

Royal Holloway News, 13 January 2021,

University of Oxford News, 13 January 2021,

SPIE Quantum Technology: Driving commercialisation of an enabling science, 29 September 2021, 11881-18

QSHS Project Launch

January 2021

Quantum Sensing for the Hidden Sector (QSHS) is a collaboration of 8 UK research institutions just approved for funding by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) under the Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics (QTFP) scheme announced last October. The members are The University of Sheffield (lead institution, principal investigator Prof. E Daw), University of Cambridge (co-I and senior project scientist Prof. Stafford Withington), Lancaster University (co-Is Prof. Yuri Pashkin, Dr. Ian Bailey, Dr. Ed Laird) The University of Liverpool (co-I Dr. Ed Hardy), The National Physical Laboratory (co-Is Dr. John Gallop, Prof. Ling Hao), University of Oxford (co-Is Dr. Peter Leek, Prof. Gianluca Gregori, Prof. John March-Russell, Prof. Subir Sarkar, Dr. Boon-Kok Tan), Royal Holloway – University of London (co-I. Prof. Phil Meeson, Prof. Stephen West). The total award was £4.7M for the QSHS group and a further £0.9M for building a test facility to search for axion.

In collaboration with ADMX, incluidng: Seattle – Chelsea Bartram, Gray Rybka, Les Rosenberg, LLNL – Gianpaolo Carosi and PNNL – Jihee Yang.

QSHS aims to solve some of the most fundamental mysteries in modern physics using new technologies being developed for the rapidly expanding field of quantum measurement science. The fundamental mysteries are the dark matter problem and the underlying structure and symmetries of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of quarks and the nuclei of atoms. The dark matter problem is the observation that galaxies and the observable Universe are heavier than their observed constituents – stars, planets, dust and gas. The extra matter making up the difference could be made up wholly or partly of ultra-light particles – the so-called hidden sector particles that have so far evaded detection. The signatures of these particles are signals so faint that the worlds most sensitive measurement devices will be developed by our team for the search. In addition, we will build a UK based experiment to conduct the search experiment itself, and to act as a faculty for further experiments. The facility will include a high field large volume magnet to induce hidden sector particles to decay into detectable electromagnetic waves and a refrigerator capable of cooling the target to around 10 millikelvin – a hundredth of a degree centigrade above the absolute zero of temperature. Detection of hidden sector particles requires very advanced low noise electronics. Devices with names like Josephson parametric amplifiers, travelling wave parametric amplifiers and Qubit arrays will be developed by our collaboration to enable the search. These devices are also critical for progress in quantum measurement and quantum computing, areas where the UK has taken a world leading position through other schemes such as the quantum hubs funded by the engineering and physical sciences research council (EPSRC). The UK researchers of QSHS will form a collaboration with the U.S. based ADMX collaboration, who operate the most sensitive detector for a particular variety of hidden sector particle, the axion. The exchange of ideas with our U.S. partners and the work we can do together will strengthen the science of both the QSHS group and their U.S. counterparts. The discovery of hidden sector particle dark matter would be a momentous event in fundamental physics. The dark matter problem is now over 50 years old, but in addition a new set of light particles would be bound to solve some of the persistent problems with the standard model of particle physics. Furthermore, hidden sector particles may play other significant roles in physics, including in early Universe cosmology and the evolution of the Universe in the moments after it came into existence. We are excited to be embarking on this journey of discovery, and we hope the British public will share in this excitement as we start this research project.

January 2019

The first meeting of the collaboration was held on the 9th January 2019. Pictured from left to right: (front row) Stafford Withington, Ed Romans, Ling Hao, Ed Hardy. (back row), Xavier Siemens, Ed Laird, Mitch Perry, Ian Bailey, Yuri Pashkin, Stephen West. Photo taken by Ed Daw.

Since this first meeting the collaboration has expanded and new members have joined – refer to the People page.

Pre-Award Collaboration meeting in 2019