07 Mar 2013

Quantum technologies: high level roundtable on new applications

JRC Director General, Dominique Ristori, and Nobel Prize Winner, Serge Haroche.
JRC Director General, Dominique Ristori, and Nobel Prize Winner, Serge Haroche.
© EU, 2013

The JRC hosted today a round table on the potential applications of quantum science and the development of new technologies in the areas of computation, simulation, communication, metrology and sensing. It also focused on the challenges that these new technologies may bring to the European policy making landscape.

The event included the participation of 2012 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, Serge Haroche, for his work on quantum systems. The JRC and DG Enterprise Directors-General and the JRC Deputy Director-General, along with several representatives from research and industry also took part.

Among the conclusions, Dominique Ristori, JRC Director-General, stressed the potential of new quantum developments to boost growth and jobs in the EU. He highlighted the leading role of European research in this area and called for a transformation of this knowledge into concrete market applications, a step where Europe is traditionally weaker than its competitors. He mentioned for instance the huge potential of quantum technologies to boost the EU's services sector and cross-border e-commerce by minimising the security risks.

Last but not least, he also identified several challenges for this endeavour, not only scientific, industrial or commercial, but also linked to better communication of the potential of science to European citizens to overcome societal resistance to innovation, and to better policy-making by ensuring that scientific knowledge is taken up in European policies as effectively as possible and takes into account the full spectrum of possibilities offered. He also underlined the importance of standards and international collaboration in this process.

Presentations and report

Background information

Quantum technologies promise to revolutionise many areas of science and technology, providing for instance super-fast computers, fully secure communications, more accurate measurement devices and sensors or extremely precise clocks that could be the basis for new GPS systems.

Europe plays a leading role in quantum research, and European scientists are among the frontrunners in this field. Roughly, half of the world's academic output on quantum theory comes from EU-based groups. Quantum science is not new and already has a direct link with the main revolutions in the information and communication technologies throughout the 20th century. However recent breakthroughs in quantum science promise further revolutionary technologies within a medium timeframe.

The fact that commercial applications for these technologies might be closer in time (2 to 10 years, depending on the applications) has triggered recently a significant increase of funding in this area, in particular in the US, Canada, Australia and some countries in Asia.

JRC Deputy Director General, Vladimir Šucha, and Nobel Prize Winner, Serge Haroche.
JRC Deputy Director General, Vladimir Šucha, and Nobel Prize Winner, Serge Haroche.
© EU, 2013
 
From left to right: Tomasso Calarco, Institute of Quantum Information Processing, Ulm University (Germany); Serge Haroche, College de France; Dominique Ristori; JRC Director General and Carl J. Williams, US National Institute of Standards and Technology.
From left to right: Tomasso Calarco, Institute of Quantum Information Processing, Ulm University (Germany); Serge Haroche, College de France; Dominique Ristori; JRC Director General and Carl J. Williams, US National Institute of Standards and Technology.
© EU, 2013

From left to right: Leonard Hobbs, INTEL Ireland; Vladimir Šucha, JRC Deputy Director General and Rainer Blatt, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Innsbruck (Austria)
From left to right: Leonard Hobbs, INTEL Ireland; Vladimir Šucha, JRC Deputy Director General and Rainer Blatt, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Innsbruck (Austria)
© EU, 2013
 
From left to right: Nicolas Gisin, University of Geneva; Thierry Van der Pyl, Director for Excellence in Science, DG Connect; Gregoire Ribordy, idQuantique and Stephan Lechner, Director of the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen
From left to right: Nicolas Gisin, University of Geneva; Thierry Van der Pyl, Director for Excellence in Science, DG Connect; Gregoire Ribordy, idQuantique and Stephan Lechner, Director of the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen
© EU, 2013

From left to right: Gaby Lenhart, European Telecommunication Standards Institute; Daniel Calleja, Director-General, DG Enterprise; Thierry Debuisschert, Thales; Ian Walmsley, Oxford University.
From left to right: Gaby Lenhart, European Telecommunication Standards Institute; Daniel Calleja, Director-General, DG Enterprise; Thierry Debuisschert, Thales; Ian Walmsley, Oxford University.
© EU, 2013