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Company Case Studies

Nu Quantum

Ground-breaking Single-photon Components
Ground-breaking Single-photon Components

Carmen Palacios-Berraquero,
CEO and Cofounder,
QTEC Cohort 3 - 2018-2019


Nu Quantum’s vision is to illuminate the quantum revolution. The company is developing ground-breaking single-photon components that will enable a new generation of commercially-viable quantum photonics technologies, an emerging industry with enormous impact on telecommunications, cybersecurity, simulation, computation and sensing. The Nu Quantum devices, capable of emitting and detecting single particles of light on-demand, underpin quantum photonics systems which use single-photons to carry, create or process quantum information.

Nu Quantum is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge and was founded in late 2018 to commercialise cutting-edge research generated over the last decade at the Cavendish Laboratory. The company is backed by world-class investors Amadeus Capital Partners, IQ Capital, Ahren Innovation Capital, Martlet Capital and Cambridge Enterprise, and has been awarded several high-profile government grants.

Why I invested in
Nu Quantum


"Nu Quantum is poised to unlock the potential of quantum communication. Using this investment by Amadeus, Nu Quantum will address the challenge of cryptography first. Based on its single photon sources and detectors, Nu Quantum aims to deliver high-rate, quantum-secure key generation and exchange, taking us one step closer towards absolute cyber security.”

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“It is difficult to learn about business if you haven’t had one. It can feel very theoretical, but the QTEC programme is well pitched for the stage we were at.”

The Founder's Journey

Carmen was already interested in quantum physics whilst still at high school. “I thought it was an intriguing concept,” she recalls. It led her to complete an MSci Physics at Imperial College London and then to a DTC in Nanotechnology and PhD at the University of Cambridge. During her PhD research, which focused on the experimental quantum optics of 2-dimensional materials. Carmen, alongside her supervisor and colleague, patented an invention using the scalable creation of quantum-light emitting sites in these materials. This patent is one out of a portfolio of patents invented by her and her co-founder Dr Matthew Applegate which are now being commercialised through Nu Quantum.

In the course of her post-doctoral work, during a tech enterprise programme at the Maxwell Centre, Carmen met Jane Garrett and the QTEC team. That meeting led to the chance to pitch at the QTEC investor day in London which started the process of raising funding. By the time Carmen started at QTEC, she had incorporated Nu Quantum, raised a small amount of funding and won an Innovate UK grant. Whilst at the programme, Carmen re-founded the company with three co-founders and raised a £650,000 pre-seed investment round led by Amadeus Capital Partners. Following that, Nu Quantum has now won a total of over £3.6m in Innovate UK grants for projects with industrial and academic partners that will deliver a prototype photon emitter and receiver in 2021. The company now has 7 full-time staff and 4 part time consultants.

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The Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre was an EPSRC funded Skills and Training Hub based out of the University of Bristol which is part of the UK's National Quantum Technology Programme and based out of:

QTIC, 1 Cathedral Square, Trinity Street, College Green, Bristol BS1 5DD

The programme was moved into SETsquared Bristol in July 2022.

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