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A quantum leap for industry

24 Jul 2018 James Dacey

In the July edition of Physics World Stories, Andrew Glester looks at the latest developments in technologies based on quantum mechanics. While quantum computing often steals the headlines, there is a whole world of other quantum-based devices in the pipeline for a range of applications.

Glester speaks first with Raphael Clifford and Ashley Montanaro at the University of Bristol about quantum computing. They are interested in the prospects of achieving “quantum supremacy” – the point at which quantum computers can outperform classical computers at specific tasks.

Next, Glester hands the reigns over to Physics World’s Margaret Harris who recently attended the 2018 Photonics West conference in San Francisco. At that event, Harris caught up with Anke Lohmann, the director of ESP Central Ltd, which supports the transfer technology form academic settings to the marketplace. Lohmann gives her opinion on the quantum innovations most likely to have the most significant impacts in the coming years, among them is quantum key distribution for secure communication.

Finally, Glester heads to the University of Birmingham, the site of one of the UK Quantum Technology Hubs. He is given a tour of the lab by Kai Bongs who explains how the goal is to transform scientific concepts in practical applications that are economically viable. The focus at the Birmingham hub is on developing sensors and metrology techniques. Targeted applications include gravity-mapping beneath the Earth’s surface and highly precise optical clocks.

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