The Government Office for Science has said that in the long term, quantum technologies could be comparable in size to the consumer electronics sector, currently worth an estimated £240bn a year globally.
The demand for quantum technologies is being driven by large and significant societal challenges, including the need to build in more inhospitable places, for greater security around information and transactions, for better medicines and therapies, and to counter cyber terrorism. “Quantum technologies will lead to major advances in precision timing, sensors and computation, destined to have a major impact on the finance, defence, aerospace, energy, infrastructure and telecommunications sectors.” By 2024, the estimated global market for quantum technologies will reach $10.7 billion, which explains why nations, corporates and startups alike are all jockeying for first position.
The field comprises four domains: Quantum Communication, where individual or entangled photons are used to transmit data in a provably secure way; Quantum Simulation, where well-controlled quantum systems are used to reproduce the behavior of other, less accessible quantum systems; Quantum Computation, which employs quantum effects to dramatically speed up certain calculations, such as number factoring; and Quantum Sensing & Metrology, where the high sensitivity of coherent quantum systems to external perturbations is exploited to enhance the performance of measurements of physical quantities.
UK has formulated its National Strategy for Quantum Technologies with the aim to guide new quantum work and investments over the next 20 years to help deliver a profitable, growing and sustainable quantum industry deeply rooted in the UK. The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.
In 2013, the UK Government announced funding of £270m (over five years) to create the National Quantum Technologies Programme. Other funding has included £36m from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and total investments from public and private sources now exceed £350m. In 2018, the EU aims to launch a ten-year, €1bn European Flagship programme to support the development of quantum technologies.
The programme initially benefited from £270 million in 2014, expected to last five years, and used £120 million from this to set up four National Quantum Technology Hubs led by universities and colleges in Oxford, Birmingham, York and Glasgow. A further £80 million investment, announced in early September 2018 will be divided between the hubs and is expected to last an additional five years – averaging just £4 million per hub per year. Likely target areas range from Internet security to vehicle driving assistance systems as well as life-saving equipment for search-and-rescue missions, and helping firefighters. While the UK’s £80 million is four times less than what scientists asked for, according to Bloomberg this is 12 times less than the US’ $200 million per year, and 125 times less than China’s $10 billion.
On a visit to the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies, but others are investing hard to catch up with us. The £80 million in new funding will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution.”
“The UK has long been recognized as a world leader in quantum research, and we now have a real chance to build a solid and successful industrial base around that excellence in fundamental science and engineering,” said David Delpy, Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board for UK National Quantum Technology Programme
National strategy for quantum technologies
This strategy has been drawn up by the Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board on behalf of the UK quantum community. Its purpose is to guide new quantum work and investments over the next 20 years to help deliver a profitable, growing and sustainable quantum industry deeply rooted in the UK.
The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.
The strategy rests on five pillars
1. Enabling a strong foundation of capability in the UK
2. Stimulating applications and market opportunity in the UK
3. Growing a skilled UK workforce
4. Creating the right social and regulatory context
5. Maximizing benefit to the UK through international engagement
It has also made recommendations for implementation of strategy:
1. Invest in a 10-year programme of support for academia, industry and other partners to jointly accelerate the growth of the UK quantum technologies ecosystem
2. Sustain investment in the vibrant UK quantum research base and facilities
3. Incentivize private investment, including through roadmapping and demonstration, and support early adopters of these new technologies as they emerge over differing timescales
4. Enable industry to use state-of-the art UK university facilities
5. Invest in the development of a dynamic workforce that meets the needs of future industry
6. Support the free flow of people, innovation and ideas between academic, industrial and government organisations
7. Drive effective regulation and standards and champion responsible innovation
8. Preserve its competitive advantage as a global supplier of quantum devices, components, systems and expertise while continuing to play a leading role in engaging globally in the development of quantum technologies
Despite huge promise, substantial investments are unlikely as the potential cost and risks involved are too great at the present time for all but the largest companies. We must incentivise private investment by:
• Funding demonstrators to better understand technical challenges and the value of potential market applications
• Encouraging effective communication, networking, road-mapping, undertaking market analysis and investigating standards to build greater confidence and understanding
• Identifying early adopters for new technology, and, where appropriate, using government procurement to solidify some of the early market opportunities (such as in defence)
UK National Quantum Technologies Programme
In 2013 the UK government announced a plan to invest £270 million to develop and commercialize quantum technologies, with the aim of placing the UK in a leading position within the global quantum technology marketplace. As a first step in this plan, a national funding body, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), established a programme for quantum technologies – a programme implemented, in the main, through several “hubs”. Each hub consists of a network of academic and industrial partnerships, focused on one of five core areas: time-keeping; sensing and measurement; imaging; communications security; or computing. The hubs’ goals are not only to develop a quantum technology manufacturing capability in each sector, but also to develop services around various core technologies.
The vision is to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion-pound new quantum technology markets, and to substantially enhance the value of some of the biggest UK-based industries.
The National Quantum Technologies Programme has already brought about some dramatic changes in the UK, including investment by EPSRC to set up a national network of quantum technology hubs that involve 17 universities and more than 50 industry partners; investment by the UK MOD to build demonstrators for quantum navigation and gravity imagers; and activities by Innovate UK to enable businesses to explore the commercial opportunities that quantum technologies may bring to the UK. EPSRC has also invested in centres for doctoral training to provide high-level skills for a future workforce.
The National Quantum Technology Programme has invited the proposals that will contribute to the expansion of the UK’s quantum technology capability in one or more of the four areas of strategic focus identified for this call.
1) Building technical capability; 2) Manufacturing tools; 3) System / subsystem design and 4) Acceleration of innovation. Up to £25M capital funding is available for this call.
Quantum technology hubs
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. EPSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.
In order to begin the transition from science to technology and to build clusters of activity with industry, EPSRC has invested £120 million in a national network of quantum technology hubs. These are led by the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, York and Oxford. Each of the quantum hubs is investing in incubator spaces for new businesses, and public funding will be available to develop the facilities – such as in nano-fabrication and high-value electronic production – that companies can use to develop these new devices
A call for Quantum Technology members of the consortia who will be the research leaders will open on the 16 July 2018. The Expression of Interest (EoI) will be for academic research leaders to join the consortia who will develop the Phase 2 Quantum Technologies Hub proposals. The selected consortia members will develop the second phase Quantum Technology Research Hub proposals with the current Quantum Technologies Hub research leaders.
The British Government has announced that more than £80 million ($105 million) will be given to four UK-based world-leading quantum technology development centres over the next five years to create new technologies for diverse applications. Likely target areas range from Internet security to vehicle driving assistance systems as well as life-saving equipment for search-and-rescue missions, and helping firefighters.
Quantum imaging technology is expected to help emergency services get a more accurate image before embarking on rescues. The technology could also see through snowstorms, around corners and map hidden underground hazards. Other applications areas include cryptography for securing internet communications, quantum clocks for time stamping financial transactions and improved satellite communications.
Besides Strathclyde, other UK research centers set to benefit from the new funding and their focuses include:
Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub, currently led by University of Oxford, which focus on computers that will easily be able to solve the most complex problems which currently challenge the most advanced supercomputers;
Quantum Sensing and Metrology Hub, currently led by Birmingham, that will revolutionise mining and excavation processes through precise mapping of densities and distances
Quantum Communications Hub, currently led by York, is developing secure communications methods which will keep financial transactions and data transmissions safe from interception
Quantum Hub for Networked Quantum Information Technologies (NQIT)
The Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub (NQIT) is the largest of the four Hubs in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, a £270 million investment by the UK government to establish a quantum technology industry in the UK. The NQIT Consortium is an alliance of nine universities led by Oxford University, plus more than 30 commercial and government organisations comprising leading experts across a range of backgrounds from academia, industry and government agencies, working together to achieve the ambitious goal of developing a universal quantum computer. The university partners are Bath, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Southampton, Strathclyde, Sussex and Warwick, and we have connections with others including Heriot-Watt, Bristol, Durham and Imperial College London.
This hub is led by the University of Oxford and specializes in networked quantum information technologies, including quantum computing. It will look to develop an architecture known as ’20:20′, a modular network of 20 by 20 ion traps, connected by photonic links. These modular devices can be configured individually, so that the individual node acts as a sensor, or with multiple nodes, to form a re-configurable quantum computer system. It will also look to use early generations of the 20:20 architecture to develop devices such as a chemical nose, random number generators, and quantum cryptography range extenders.
Our aim is to develop the first truly scalable universal quantum computing machine in collaboration with government, industry and the wider community. The architectures that NQIT is developing have the highest performance of any current qubit system, and we are advancing on the path to create such a machine. We are building a new industry sector around quantum information technology, from the supply chain, through the build and operation, to programming and use of quantum computers, says Professor Ian Walmsley FRS, Director of NQIT, Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), University of Oxford.
Our key objectives are to:
- Demonstrate a scalable quantum computing architecture based on ion qubits and photonic networks
- Advance promising emerging and enabling quantum information processing technologies
- Seed and develop the commercialisation of these technologies through engagement with industry and investors through training, collaboration and knowledge transfer Engage with the wider public and community
We are developing the software systems to program and operate our quantum computing machine and are working on our own quantum computing emulator platform for high performance computers, which will enable scientists in research and industry to develop algorithms and applications for the emerging hardware.
Quantum Hub for Quantum Communications
This hub is led by the University of York and will deliver a range of practical, real-world quantum-protected communications systems for a range of applications, from high-value financial transactions to everyday consumer applications. The core capability will be a range of quantum key distribution (QKD) technologies, including those operating over optical fibre and free space links systems. It will build a large-scale quantum network in the UK, connecting quantum metro networks in Cambridge and Bristol with a long-distance quantum secure link. It will also develop next-generation quantum communication technology, such as measurement-device-independent QKD and systems for quantum digital signatures.
Quantum cryptography is by far the quantum technology closest to commercial use. A prominent company that has developed commercial quantum key distribution is IdQuantique from Geneva.
BT announced in March 2019 that the UK celebrates a milestone in the development of ultra-secure quantum networks with the opening of the world’s first commercial-grade quantum test network link between the BT Labs in Suffolk and the Cambridge node of the UK’s new Quantum Network. The new high-speed link will enable testing and demonstration of new quantum technologies such as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) which are expected to play a central role in future communications systems worldwide. This will include trials of how these technologies can be used to secure critical and sensitive data across vertical industry sectors such as healthcare, banking, defence and logistics.
The link forms part of the UK Quantum Network (UKQN) being built by the Quantum Communications Hub, a collaboration between research and industry, supported by the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme. It uses over 125km of standard BT optical fibre between Cambridge and Adastral Park, with BT Exchanges acting as ‘trusted nodes’ along the route. The link will carry both quantum and non-quantum traffic; the QKD technique shares data encryption keys via an ultra-secure quantum channel over the same fibre that carries the encrypted data itself.
The network was built by the core partners of the Quantum Communications Hub – BT, and the universities of Cambridge and York. Support for the development was provided by ID Quantique and ADVA Optical, who supplied the QKD systems and optical transmission equipment, and the system-specific expertise required to integrate it.
UK Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology
This hub is led by the University of Birmingham and focuses on sensors and metrology. It will use cold atoms to develop quantum gravity sensors, magnetic sensors, precision rotation sensors and imaging systems. Fundamentally, this hub will seek to develop a full supply chain for these new technologies, and will work closely with industry partners to develop components such as advanced optical components, cold-atom systems, and packaging and enclosures. The hub is expected to produce demonstrator gravity sensors that it will test at dedicated facilities in Birmingham.
Superpositions of quantum states are highly delicate things. The wave-like nature of quantum particles makes them extremely sensitive to the extended environment around them. In sensing and measurement, however, the very delicacy of quantum superpositions makes them ideal as the basis for precise sensors. This new generation of sensors aims to exploit the quantum nature of atoms by using lasers to trap them in minute clouds, at very low temperatures. Low temperature means a low average atomic velocity, and that means the de Broglie wavelengths of the atoms will overlap and interfere. The pattern made by this interference is very sensitive to influences from the local environment. Hence, quantum sensors may be used to measure electric, magnetic or gravitational fields, as well as other properties such as temperature, acceleration, rotation or pressure.
Quantum sensors are expected to improve the accuracy of measuring time, frequency, rotation, magnetic fields and gravity, with particular benefits for real world applications such as military sensing, geological investigation, “flash” share trading, optical communications and computing.
Quantum gravitational sensors have attracted particular interest as potential tools for subterranean surveying. Because they sense gravity very precisely, such “quantum gravimeters” could be used in civil engineering applications, or to detect groundwater reserves and deposits of minerals, oil or gas. They work underground or underwater where satellite navigation fails, and could in theory be deployed from space, rather than in local ground-based units.
The Hub in Birmingham is working to transform laboratory-based research into technology. Researchers are developing smaller, cheaper, more accurate and energy efficient components and systems to build and sustain a supply chain which will have a potentially transformative impact across business and society as a whole.
Recent Research and development projects
Dr Till gave some specifics on recent developments by DSTL quantum-based research and development projects: “We have two development programs – a gravity imaging program, and a quantum imager. DSTL’s academic partners are the University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, and National Physical Laboratory; the commercial partners are e2v and M-Squared lasers.
”The concept of the imager is to take an array of gravity radiometers, which use cold atom physics, measure a gravity gradient across a region of space and by inverting the data can reconstruct the density profile, which has generated that gravity field,” he said.
“The Quantum Navigator involves developing the component sensors that comprise a navigation system, based on clocks, accelerometers and gyros,” Dr Till continued. “All of this should all mature to at least TRL 4 [technology readiness level] by 2019. But parts of it are already much closer to maturity now. In particular, clocks gravimeters, a gravity gradiometer and an accelerometer, all of which we hope to see at TRL4 by February 2017
Dr Till explained, “Apart from civil engineering, such as identifying geological faults and features, the military could inspect buildings, understand their structures from the outside. Which is important if one wishes to review a building that is occupied by people you’d rather weren’t there. We can also detect underground tunnels and bunkers and perhaps detect fissile material – it’s frightening the amount of fissile material that disappears each year,” he continued.
He explained how future quantum based systems will significantly improve detection capabilities, especially underwater: “Currently, detection in the underwater environment, which is based on inertial navigation sensors, existing systems can be in error by as much as one nautical mile over a 24-hour period. But we expect future quantum version of this equipment to deliver about 1000-fold improvement in performance.”
“The push for all of this is to develop compact small weight and power demand systems, ultimately to be man-portable devices; we believe that at least three and possibly five orders of magnitude improvement might be possible with such accelerometers and gyros – and all of these need to be engineered into a system if we are to have a working navigator.”
“There is now another driver to quantum technology developments, which is the requirement that all government technology departments contribute to UK wealth creation. So we are very supportive of developing and maintaining a quantum community to give us a world-leading position in what we believe could be a £1 billion a year industry.
DSTL is also supporting technology transfer to industry, through four applied physics project with Innovate UK and through the recently announced £800 million / 10 year MOD Innovation initiative, which was announced in the UK’s 2015 Strategic Defence Review.
The GPS system is, vulnerable to interference or failure. This raises the risk of disruption to telecommunications, critical power supply infrastructure and financial markets. Accordingly, one goal of the UK’s national quantum technology programme is to make highly accurate, terrestrial atomic clocks that can be used as a reliable and routine back-up against disruption of space-borne timing signals.
Atomic clocks use the oscillations of electrons within atoms as their fundamental ticking. They have been used since 1967 to determine Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a standard timescale used world-wide. Atomic clocks on-board satellites are also a crucial part of global navigation satellite systems such as GPS. To this end, the programme aims to develop a new generation of atomic clocks that are much more accurate than existing systems. The best atomic clocks currently available hold their accuracy to within a few nanoseconds per century, but these devices are big enough to fill a room. Researchers within this hub are therefore working on atomic clocks that are smaller, more robust and portable than today’s state-of-the-art systems.
New techniques have been developed over the past decade to improve the accuracy of atomic clocks, for example involving different types of atoms, or the use of a quantum behaviour known as entanglement. The best atomic clocks lose or gain less than a hundred trillionth of a second per year. Research is focusing on improving the performance and reducing the size, weight and cost of miniature atomic clocks (which cost about £1,200 and are the size of a matchbox). The performance of the most accurate clocks is also being improved and verified.
Dr Till also gave a detailed worked example of quantum technology being developed into systems: “portable atomic clocks will be a real game-changer for the military,” he said. “In this area, there is early adoption by the MOD, which will later see wider civilian use. Development is currently at TRL 4-5, with the aim of achieving TRL 8-9 maturity within five years.
“We could use these portable atomic clocks in synchronisation and battle space management applications in such critical areas as: information activities, artillery, manoeuvres, communications, navigation and sensor subsystems. Portable atomic clocks would allow us to relax our reliance on GPS.” He concluded, “We believe we are standing on the brink of the next mobile device revolution.“
Quantum Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (QuantIC)
This hub is led by the University of Glasgow and specializes in quantum-enhanced imaging. It will use quantum correlations, entanglement and timing to create images using novel methods. This will include imaging using very low light levels to allow imaging of objects “hidden” out of line of sight, improved resolution imaging using quantum correlations, imaging using only a small number of photons and “stealth” imaging. Quantum effects will also be used to extract images from noisy signals.
The hub will look to develop the supply chain for these devices, and will work on the development of underpinning technologies such as single photon sources and detector arrays, microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) technologies.
Cameras that can take pictures around corners might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but they are a key area of development for the UK’s quantum imaging hub. These specialized cameras send out laser pulses that illuminate a point on the ground in front of them. The resulting scattered light then hits an object lurking unseen around the corner, bounces off it, and re-enters the camera’s field of view, where it is detected. The ability to build up detailed images via this indirect method is down to the cameras’ exquisite sensitivity, which enables them to detect single photons efficiently with short exposure times, and thus to “see” around corners.
Another focus for the quantum imaging hub is known as “ghost imaging”. While not involving spectres as such, the technology is certainly spectral in the physics sense of the word. Conventional cameras capture the same wavelength of light used to illuminate the imaged object. Not so with a quantum “ghost” camera. Instead, the object is illuminated with one wavelength of light, but imaged with a different one. To do this, experimenters must generate beams of entangled photons: one beam to illuminate the object while the other beam separately illuminates the camera, forming an image of the object. Entanglement allows the first beam to influence the image formed by the second.
The UK National Roadmap for Quantum Technologies plans to realize its strategy by, producing a snapshot of the current quantum technologies landscape, identifying the application areas where businesses can use their strengths and capabilities to generate revenue and producing a broader set of actions for business, academia and the public sector designed to overcome future barriers to the development of a UK quantum technologies industry.
- In daily life they could enable faster 5G or 6G communications for mobile devices. They could also lead to faster and more efficient construction projects, with reduced delays for all as workers will be using quantum sensor technology to identify pipelines and underground obstructions before starting work.
- Within 10 years compact UK-sourced atomic clocks, and Medical diagnostics, heart and brain function, shall be available along with Global laboratory equipment in over 1,400 QT research groups around the world. Low-cost gas detection, Non-damaging biological microscopes,
- Unjammable underwater navigation with GPS-like accuracy, Space applications, for example for environmental monitoring and earthquake prediction, Detecting underground facilities and voids for civil engineering shall be available.
- Military vehicle navigation without GPS, Safer and better underground/mining navigation, Personalized and professional navigation devices, including for cars and mobile phones, Quantum-protected ATM, Improved military optical and thermal imaging shall be available within 20 years.
- Personalised quantum computing systems for intractable problems, Large quantum computing systems for high-value problems and Quantum co-processors for high-performance/low-power consumer computing shall be available within 30 years.
The quantum technology roadmapping workshops identified 7 groups of technologies believed to have near (0-5 years), mid (5-10 years) or long-term (10-plus years) potential for commercial exploitation.
Short term (0-5 years): Components for quantum systems, Quantum clocks, Non-medical imaging technologies (electro-magnetic, gravity imagers, single photon imaging), Quantum secure communications (point-to-point secure communications)
Midterm (5-10 years): Medical imaging technologies, Navigation (precision inertial navigation), Second generation components (solid-state, miniaturised, self-contained quantum devices, for example accelerometers)
Long term (10 years+): Quantum secure communications (complex network communication), Quantum technologies in consumer applications, Quantum computing
Roadmap for component technologies
Components are themselves a significant opportunity for many UK companies. They offer opportunities for immediate sales to research organisations, have numerous early spin-off applications, and will remain central to a future quantum industry as it grows.
There is an estimated immediate national and international market of over £1 billion [for quantum technology components among researchers. For example, the market for components and modules using photonic crystal devices is estimated to be worth $100 million a year globally, with the value growing 33% a year between 2012 and 2017. In the UK alone, demand for components for QT research is growing by around £100 million a year.
As demand for quantum systems increases and extends to commercial applications in 3 years from now, the market for the components that make up these systems will grow alongside it.
Components will have to evolve from one-off bespoke pieces of equipment into devices with ‘good enough’ performance for use across multiple applications. This change will drive larger scale manufacturing, lead to higher quality components and reduce costs. It will unlock more low-cost, and potentially consumer-led, applications. These complex assemblies will develop into small, self-contained modules as the technology matures. They could be produced at higher volumes and with greater profit margins and will be made using highly controlled and well-known processes, such as electron beam lithography and surface mounting, and using other processes that may currently be unknown.
Roadmap for UK atomic clocks
“A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering exposed substantial UK vulnerabilities to intercepted or blocked GPS signals, which, unless mitigated, could have a significant impact on the 7% of the UK economy that is currently dependent on GPS.”
Next-generation atomic clocks and secure quantum communication systems are expected to emerge in the next 5 years and will enable accurate timing and navigation devices for defence, telecommunications, and finance industries.
Next-generation 5G telecommunications networks, which are expected to be rolled out in 2020 will require coordination between base stations. Localised timing devices accurate to within 500ns of UTC will be needed to provide hold-over for up to 2 days if they lose connection to a GPS fix. Currently, only expensive Caesium clocks achieve the required specifications
Second-generation clocks, such as cold-atom or lattice clocks with equivalent accuracy to current national primary standard clocks, can be realised in 5-10 years.
Roadmap for quantum sensors – through-ground imagers, gravity mapping and electromagnetic sensors
Over the next 10 years, quantum gravity field and gradient sensors will be developed. They can be used to build a 3D map of the density of material around them and will have a significant impact on the world’s construction and oil and gas sectors.
In the long term, quantum sensors may be used for neuroscience and the interpretation of electrical signals from the brain. Quantum electromagnetic sensors may allow these signals to be measured outside the body and offer a high level of precision.
An early market for quantum magnetic sensors may be for gesture recognition in computer gaming, a market that is estimated to grow to $23.5 billion by 2020
Roadmap for quantum inertial sensors
Quantum inertial measurement units (IMU) are expected to arise between 5 and 10 years from now and to offer a thousand-fold improvement on existing IMUs. They will allow a more versatile and more durable alternative to navigation by GPS.
Between 2018 and 2030, the defence and aerospace industry is expected to provide an initial market for new quantum navigation systems for use where satellite navigation systems are impractical.
They could be used in submersibles, for precision navigation for robotics in buildings, underground or in other situations where artificial denial of GPS may be an issue
Roadmap for quantum communications
Current Public key cryptographic systems are based on the on the hardness of mathematical operations, such as factorising large numbers, that will be vulnerable to quantum computing.
The options for replacement include quantum-safe public key cryptography (QSPKC), which relies on mathematical assumptions, and/or quantum technology-enabled key distribution (QKD), which is secured by the fundamental laws of quantum physics.
The first generation of devices is therefore likely to operate over point-to-point links of up to 200-300km in length, and be applied to mission critical links in the defence, government, healthcare, financial or corporate sectors. Secure networks, linking offices or telecommunications switching stations over a larger geographical area, will be possible in the medium term. In the long term, global quantum communications may be enabled by fibre optic quantum repeaters or by using satellites.
Roadmap for quantum enhanced imaging
Quantum enhanced imaging systems are expected to provide new opportunities in areas such as imaging and range finding in low light, or low-cost multi-spectral imaging technologies Applications are expected within 5 years for scientific devices such as microscopes and telescopes, in defence, and in environmental monitoring. Quantum enhanced imaging could have applications for medical imaging devices within 5-10 years once the regulatory approval is acquired.
Roadmap for quantum computers
Quantum computers store information using quantum bits, or qubits, which have been theoretically proven to process certain types of problems and information more effectively than a digital computer. Examples include machine learning algorithms, including image recognition, optimisation such as for maximising the return from a financial portfolio or for the movement of goods in a network, number factorisation and mathematical problem solving such as large simultaneous equations.
In midterm Cloud-based quantum computing services shall be available for high-value problems worth £10m-£100m a year, in long term Quantum co-processor for high-performance/low power home computing worth over £100m a year, shall be possible.
Potential markets for quantum devices
Quantum technologies for defence
In 2013, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, released a report: “UK Quantum Technology Landscape 2014” as a contribution, to the national effort to realise the benefits of quantum technologies as seen through the lens of defence and security.
“Our vision is that quantum technologies will become game changing differentiators for UK defence and security over a 5-30 year time scale, and that their development will become a multi-billion pound industry that will benefit the UK economy over the same period.”
We see principal areas of opportunity for the defence and security community in the short and medium term as being timing and clocks, sensors and navigation, and enabling technologies such as quantum optics.
Quantum computing and quantum information processing is expected to have lesser impact in the short and medium term but immense impact in the longer term, including much that is not yet foreseen. Quantum computers will be able to perform tasks too hard for even the most powerful conventional supercomputer and have a host of specific applications, from code-breaking and cyber security to medical diagnostics, big data analysis and logistics.
Quantum technologies for space
Both optical atomic clocks and atom interferometers are cross-cutting technologies with applications in many areas of the space industry. These include earth observation of ocean circulation; earthquake monitoring; earth and extra-terrestrial measurement of gravitational and magnetic fields; navigation (particularly in deep space); secure and high-throughput telecommunications; and fundamental physics, such as tests of general relativity.
Current missions driving the development of atomic clocks within Europe are the ACES mission (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) planned for launch to the International Space Station in 2016, and the navigation payloads for the Galileo satellite constellation. European Space Agency (ESA) is currently planning a future gravity mission using cold atom interferometry to achieve a gravity field recovery; this is expected to deliver a tenfold improvement in performance compared to its previous Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite (2009 – 2013).
Creating the right social and regulatory context
Regulatory and standards development
Standards are a useful enabler of future technology development, giving confidence and commonality in an emerging market that can be recognised internationally by all parts of the supply chain.
A new quantum centre for metrology and standardisation will be developed as a go-to place for industry and academia to test, compare, and standardize new quantum technologies.
Responsible research and innovation
Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is key to shaping public understanding of quantum technologies by promoting science and innovation that is socially desirable and undertaken in the public interest. It involves a two-way discussion between a wide range of stakeholders at an early stage of the innovation process.
“The UK is not alone in recognising the potential value of quantum technologies. However, there is an opportunity for the UK to be the global leader and a ‘go-to’ place for quantum technologies,” said National Strategy for Quantum Technologies.
References and Resources also include:
Full report can be read here: UK Quantum Technology Roadmap