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Quantum technologies
The so-called second quantum revolution is in full swing, with scientists not only able to understand what happens at a sub-atomic level but also control this quantum behaviour enough to develop new technologies. Six months after the launch of the EU’s €1 billion quantum flagship initiative to kickstart a European quantum technologies industry, we take a look at the potential of quantum to revolutionise our future. We speak to one researcher who is helping to build a quantum computer about the global race to do this and how Europe is faring. We take a look at the threat and promise of quantum technologies in the field of cryptography and find out how quantum simulators can be used to solve non-quantum problems. And finally, we speak to the scientists who are using quantum mechanics to improve the performance of brain scanners and better diagnose medical conditions.
Quantum simulators could help solve logistical challenges, such as making sure planes and airline crew are in the right place in order for flights to run smoothly. Image credit - Pixabay/ Free-Photos, licensed under pixabay license

A powerful new form of computing could help scientists design new types of materials for nanoelectronics, allow airlines to solve complex logistical problems to ensure flights run on time, and tackle traffic jams to keep cars flowing more freely on busy roads.

Cryptography that would be impossible for a regular computer to crack, would take a quantum computer just seconds. Image credit - Pixabay/ joffi, licensed under pixabay license

Quantum computers pose a big threat to the security of modern communications, deciphering cryptographic codes that would take regular computers forever to crack. But drawing on the properties of quantum behaviour could also provide a route to truly secure cryptography.

Quantum sensors could transform a range of areas from atomic clocks and the way we measure electromagnetic radiation. Image credit - Heiko Grandel for the institute of quantum optics from Ulm. Image credit - Universität Ulm / Heiko Grandel

When you hear the word ‘quantum’, you may imagine physicists working on a new ground breaking theory. Or perhaps you’ve read about quantum computers and how they might change the world. But one lesser-known field is also starting to reap the benefits of the quantum realm – medicine.

In about a year's time we'll hit a milestone when a quantum computer outperforms the best classical computer, says Dr Monz. Image credit - Dr Thomas Monz

European scientists have spent 100 years developing the field of quantum mechanics – a branch of physics dealing with the atomic and subatomic scale – and we need to reap the profits now that quantum computers and other technologies are becoming a reality, according to Dr Thomas Monz from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

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