March 25, 2020
Many Quantum Applications
Quantum computing is merely the tip of the quantum information iceberg. Quantum timekeeping, electromagnetic detection, radar, bioimaging, and other quantum devices will feed new quantum application systems. Quantum communications will securely transmit information where it is needed.
In an increasingly connected world, sensors, signal processing systems, and GPS will become quantum. The result will be more secure, private communications, with precision timing and navigation capabilities up to 1000x more accurate than today’s systems.
Precise measurement and extreme sensitivity
Sensors that collect data such as pressure, position, temperature, or acceleration have been used for a long time, but the combination of sensors and communications networks are the basis of the expanding Internet of Things (IoT). Today billions of physical devices around the world are connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Smart homes, smart vehicles, and smart cities are all dependent on the data from these devices.
Quantum technology has already impacted existing sensing technology, with improvements by as much as 10,000 times. In the near future, quantum sensors will be used to measure motion, magnetic fields, imaging, and more, to improve precision and sensitivity. Results will include more accurate navigation and improved security for autonomous vehicles, and portable, highly precise imaging systems.
Keeping Global Time
Quantum clocks are the most accurate clocks in the world. They are the basis for critical Internet communications, TV broadcasting, and global positioning systems. In July 2019, a laboratory quantum clock was developed that is expected to lose only one second every 33.7 billion years.
In the near future quantum communications will enable ultra-secure communication networks that could form the basis of a quantum internet. Commercial systems that encode classical information with quantum key distribution are already available, the first step towards using quantum technologies for an unhackable internet.