All questions answered by Dr. Thomas Monz from the Universität Innsbruck, Austria.
What do you want to achieve in this project?
The AQTION project will realise a scalable European quantum computer that is based on the manipulation of single-charged atoms. Here, each charged atom or ion corresponds to a quantum bit – the smallest unit of quantum information. We will realise registers with up to 50 qubits, control each of the quantum bits individually with high performance, to realise a device that can achieve a computational advantage over all known classical computers.
How will European citizens benefit from this project, both from the technology developments it accomplishes as well as the basic science breakthroughs it may achieve?
On a technological level, our ion-trap quantum computer will allow us to tackle problems beyond classical computational capabilities, with applications ranging from chemistry (such as new fertilisers) via energy distribution (for more efficient networks) to chip-layout optimisation (for faster chips with less power consumption).
With respect to fundamental research, our system will allow us to investigate completely new algorithms, realise novel approaches for quantum error correction, and effectively push the boundary between quantum and classical physics to larger and larger system sizes.
Why is the Quantum Flagship important and why did you choose to become part of it?
The European Quantum Technology Flagship offers the unique possibility to jointly defend and extend European quantum leadership across all European countries, in a very rare mix of academic researchers together with commercial developers. No other programme would allow for either the mix of team-members or the respective funding to achieve our goals.
How do you see the advancement of quantum technologies in the near future and what would be your ultimate dream in the long run?
Quantum technologies cover sensors and clocks, communication, simulations and computing. They will penetrate our daily lives in a similar fashion as the semiconductor industry has shaped the 20th century. However, in a similar fashion that we likely could not foresee smartphones to exist 20 years ago, it is hard to estimate what quantum technologies will actually enable already in the very near future. The ultimate dream, however, is to control macroscopic systems on a quantum level, and thus realise entirely new materials and applications that we cannot even predict now.