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Quantum technology: from research to application

Abstract

The term quantum physics refers to the phenomena and characteristics of atomic and subatomic systems which cannot be explained by classical physics. Quantum physics has had a long tradition in Germany, going back nearly 100 years. Quantum physics is the foundation of many modern technologies. The first generation of quantum technology provides the basis for key areas such as semiconductor and laser technology. The “new” quantum technology, based on influencing individual quantum systems, has been the subject of research for about the last 20 years. Quantum technology has great economic potential due to its extensive research programs conducted in specialized quantum technology centres throughout the world. To be a viable and active participant in the economic potential of this field, the research infrastructure in Germany should be improved to facilitate more investigations in quantum technology research.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.wissenschaft.de/technik-kommunikation/physik/-/journal_content/56/12054/1119998/Welt-weit-erste-quantenkryptografisch-verschl%C3%BCs-selte-Bank%C3%BCberweisung/ (last accessed: 17 February 2015).

  2. 2.

    http://www.heise.de/tr/artikel/Photonen-als-Wahl-helfer-280423.html (last accessed: 17 February 2015).

  3. 3.

    Among these is the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada, with start-up funding of around CAD 300 million. It is currently the largest centre for quantum information worldwide. The Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore has been part of the national university since 2007 and is being funded for 10 years with start-up financing of SGD 158 million. In the US, the Joint Quantum Institute was established with the joint financing by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland (College Park). It is also the sponsor for a start-up in South Korea, with which the Max Planck Institute is also involved. In Japan, quantum cryptography is supported by a consortium which includes Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Japanese Telecom. In the UK at present, €270 million are allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for a program intended to support the application of technologies based on quantum physics.

  4. 4.

    For example, former board members of Blackberry-RIM, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin, have established an investment fund of $100 million to support new businesses and spinoffs for quantum technology in Canada (“Quantum Valley”). In the US, the Quantum Wave Fund (http://qwcap.com, last accessed: 18 February 2015) is a venture capital company making targeted investments in quantum technology.

  5. 5.

    Born et al. [2].

  6. 6.

    A further important advance in the understanding of the general structure of the Heisenberg approach was provided by Paul Dirac in 1925.

  7. 7.

    Schrödinger [12].

  8. 8.

    Schrödinger [13].

  9. 9.

    A. Einstein, B. Podolsky, N. Rosen “Can quantum-mechanical description be considered complete?”, Physical Review, 47, p. 777 [5].

  10. 10.

    In this case, a semitransparent mirror, which partly allows a wave to pass and partly reflects it.

  11. 11.

    Named after Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) and Satyendranath Bose (1894–1974) respectively.

  12. 12.

    For example, since 2012 industry has supported the Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs guest professorship at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, which researches practical applications together with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.

  13. 13.

    The decomposition of a natural number into a product of prime numbers is of great importance for encryption methods.

  14. 14.

    Classical optics usually treats light as a wave. If light is considered at fundamental quantum level, this wave consists of discrete particles (photons).

  15. 15.

    As shown by the example of the Center for NanoScience (CeNS) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, this is a suitable way to facilitate technology spinoffs. http://www.cens.de/ (last accessed: 18 February 2015). accessed: 18 February 2015).

  16. 16.

    http://www.exist.de/exist-forschungstransfer/ (last accessed: 18 February 2015).

  17. 17.

    Superconductors are materials whose electrical resistance disappears below a transition temperature.

  18. 18.

    In September 2014, the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) published an extensive report on the subject of quantum cryptography. The report “Quantum Safe Cryptography and Security” (ISBN 979-10-92620-03-0) is available at the following link: http://docbox.etsi.org/Workshop/2014/201410_CRYPTO/Quantum_Safe_Whitepaper_1_0_0.pdf (last accessed: 19 February 2015).

  19. 19.

    The key phrase “post-quantum cryptography” is used to describe investigations by computer scientists into conventional methods which remain secure if quantum computers are available to solve the factorization problem, for example. These methods do not achieve the fundamental security of quantum cryptography, but they are expected to be simpler to implement.

  20. 20.

    Named after Charles H. Bennett (*1943) and Gilles Brassard (*1955) and Artur Ekert (*1961) respectively. A protocol in this case is understood to be a series of handling instructions, at the conclusion of which success (in this context a key) or failure occurs.

  21. 21.

    The German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology supports the investigation of basic science for quantum communication as part of the IKT 2020 development scheme.

  22. 22.

    Named after David P. DiVincenzo (*1959); D. P. DiVincenzo [4]. Topics in Quantum Computers. In: L. Kowenhoven, G. Schön and L.L. Sohn (pub.): Mesoscopic Electron Transport. NATO ASI Series E. No. 345, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (1997), p. 657.

  23. 23.

    J. I. Cirac & P. Zoller. Quantum Computations with Cold Trapped Ions. Physical Review Letters [3], 4091–4094.

  24. 24.

    Unit of absolute temperature (0 °C = 273.15 K).

  25. 25.

    One femtosecond (fs) = 10−15 s; one attosecond (as) = 10−18 s.

  26. 26.

    A gyroscope is a device which determines spatial orientation.

  27. 27.

    These SI (French, Système international) units include basic units such as the metre, kilogram, second, ampere and Kelvin.

  28. 28.

    GMR = Giant Magnetoresistance; magnetic field-dependent resistance.

  29. 29.

    The ZT value is a dimensionless variable which affects the efficiency of thermoelectric generators. The larger its value, the closer the efficiency is to the thermodynamic maximum.

  30. 30.

    The best materials known up to now have a ZT value of one.

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Correspondence to Christian Anton.

Additional information

The following article is the re-publication of a text of previously published under the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech (the National Academy of Science and Engineering), the Union of the German Academies of Science and Humanities (ed.) (2015): Quantum Technology: From research to application. Halle (Saale), 64 pages. ISBN: 978-3-8047-3343-5. The German National Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic information can be accessed online at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

This paper is part of the topical collection “Quantum Repeaters: From Components to Strategies” guest edited by Manfred Bayer, Christoph Becher and Peter van Loock.

Appendix

Appendix

Funding schemes and projects

A large number of projects and research groups in the area of quantum technology receive funding in Germany. Sponsors include the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Max Planck Society, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), as well as a number of other regional organisations. The EU also provided funding as part of its fifth, sixth and seventh Framework Programmes.

A good overview of these projects is provided by the QIPC (Quantum Information Processing and Communication) roadmap QUROPE/QUIET2, available online at http://qurope.eu/projects/. The following is a list of some of these projects; the list serves as an example and is by no means exhaustive.

AQUTE Atomic Quantum Technologies (EU Integrating project)
CORNER Correlated Noise Errors in Quantum Information Processing (EU STREP project), 2008–11
FINAQS Future Inertial Atomic Quantum Sensors
GOCE Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer
HIP Hybrid Information Processing (EU STREP project), 2008–11
ICT 2020 Information and Communication Technologies (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research/BMBF) with the collaborative projects:
  • QuOReP (quantum repeater platform with quantum optical methods)
  • QuaHL-Rep (quantum semiconductor repeaters)
  • QUIMP (quantum interface between optical and microwave photons)
  • IQuRe (quantum repeater information theory)
IQS Inertial Atomic and Photonic Quantum Sensors: Ultimate Performance and Application
LISA-II Laser Interferometer Space Antenna II
PICC Physics of Ion Coulomb Crystals (EU project), 2010–2013
Q-ESSENCE Quantum Interfaces, Sensors, and Communication based on Entanglement (EU Integrating project), 2010–2014
QNEMS Quantum Nanoelectromechanical Systems, an FET STREP EU project 2009–2012
QUANTUS Quantum Gases in Microgravity
SECOQC Secure Communication using Quantum Cryptography
  (Sixth EU Framework Programme)
SFB 450 Collaborative Research Centre for the Analysis and Control of Ultrafast Photoinduced Reactions
SFB 631 Solid State Based Quantum Information Processing: Physical Concepts and Materials Aspects, 2003–2015)
SFB/TRR 21 Control of Quantum Correlations in Tailored Matter (CO.CO.MAT)

In addition, support was provided for individual researchers through, for example, Alexander von Humboldt Professorships. These included David DiVincenzo (RWTH Aachen), Martin Plenio (Ulm) and Vahid Sandoghdar (Erlangen-Nürnberg).

Extended bibliography

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Schleich, W.P., Ranade, K.S., Anton, C. et al. Quantum technology: from research to application. Appl. Phys. B 122, 130 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-016-6353-8

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Keywords

  • Quantum System
  • Quantum Information
  • Entangle State
  • Quantum Computer
  • Quantum Communication