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The University of Sussex

 25 February 2002 

University of Sussex scientists awarded funding to develop tomorrow's technology

The University of Sussex is the only university to receive two awards from a new multi-million-pound government fund that aims to revolutionise scientific research and innovation.

Two initiatives at Sussex are to be supported by the Basic Technology Research Programme, which is being managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of all of the government-funded research councils in the UK.

A total of 229 outline applications were received, 26 of which were invited to submit full proposals and just eight of which are to receive funding.

Ed Hinds, Professor of Experimental Physics at Sussex, successfully bid for £1.3 million to develop a technology that should make possible a future generation of computers and sensors.

Professor Hinds and his team will use the laws of quantum mechanics to manipulate cold atoms and form extremely sensitive instruments known as 'atom chips'.

This might permit increasing miniaturisation of electronics and will help to achieve computing power far greater than is possible in conventional computers, which use the motion of electrons down wires.

Terry Clark, Professor of Physical Electronics, put in a successful bid of just under 1 million for a project that aims to make a revolutionary advance in the detection of electrical fields.

The non-contact electrical sensor that Professor Clark is developing can be used in any area that has electrical activity, such as the human heart. He has already filed a patent application for a remote sensor that could allow doctors to monitor a patient's heartbeat from a distance.

Other potential applications are as diverse as the imaging of single biological cells and geophysical surveying for oil and mineral deposits.

 Notes for editors 

  • The main purpose of the £41 million Basic Technology Research Programme is to support fundamental new technology that will be applied to the entire scope of scientific, engineering and technology endeavour in the next 10 to 20 years.
  • All eight funded projects will develop truly new techniques, tools and processes to provide future capability for science and industry and with potentially wide applications.
  • Basic technology involves the creation of fundamentally new capabilities, which will feed not only into science but will underpin major new industries.

For further information, please contact Professor Ed Hinds, Tel. 01273 678081, email or Professor Terry Clark, Tel. 01273 678087, email

Press Office contacts: Alison Field or Jacqui Bealing, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, fax 01273 877456, email or

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