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EU and China prepare for 2nd quantum revolution

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

05-25-2016 11:51 BJT

By Ralf Ostner, Chinese-English-German translator, based in Munich, Germany

The European Union, United States, China, Japan are preparing for the so-called 2nd quantum revolution. The EU plans to invest 1 billion Euros in research for the next 10 years, starting in 2018.

A broad community of industries, research institutes and scientists aim for Europe to stand at the forefront of bringing transformative advances to science, industry and society, by creating new commercial opportunities to address global challenges that provide strategic capabilities for security and seeds as yet un-imagined capabilities for the future.

Europe's capabilities could lead to long-term economic, scientific and societal benefits for a more sustainable, productive, entrepreneurial and secure EU.
Quantum physics was created in Europe in the first decades of the 20th century by young physicists - Bohr, Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Pauli, Dirac, Curie, and De Broglie.

Europe still plays a leading role with in regards to a broader research scope, linking fundamental and applied sciences and engineering.

The top institutions can be found Europe-wide, covering basic physics to electronics and computer science. €0.5 billion had been invested over the last 20 years.

The EU Future and Emerging Technology (FET) program has fostered a European scientific community with world-class scientific and technical expertise.
Short-term goals (1-5 years):

Develop core technology of quantum signal repeaters that work with cryptography capability and eavesdropping detection, enabling long-distance point-to-point quantum-secure links.

Discover new algorithms, protocols and fields of application for quantum simulators, computers and communication networks, to analyze and design useful chemical processes.

Medium-term goals (5-10 years):

Realize versatile simulators of material magnetism and of such electronic properties as superconductivity, supporting the development and design of new materials with exotic properties.

Simplify quantum sensors so they can be produced at lower costs for larger-volume applications, such as manufacturing, automotive, construction and geo-surveying.
Long-term goals (>10 years):

Create a secure and fast quantum internet connecting major cities in Europe using quantum repeaters running quantum communication protocols.

Build a universal quantum computer to demonstrate the resolution of a problem that, with current techniques on a supercomputer, would take longer than the age of the universe.

Integrate quantum sensors with consumer applications, such as integrated photonic or solid-state devices for mobile devices.

More EU companies have shown a stronger interest in quantum research, including companies: Airbus Defence and Space, Alcatel Lucent, ASML, Bosch, IBM, Nokia, IMEC, Safran, Siemens and Thales.

High-tech SMEs, like e2v, Gooch & Housego, ID Quantique, M Squared Lasers, Muquans, Single Quantum and Toptica, occupy leading positions in their specific markets.

Europe holds a key position in global value chains for the semiconductor, electronics and optical industries. Quantum technologies can make an economic impact with companies looking to deliver devices engineered for use and manufactured within a commercial environment.

They will drive higher-volume productions, reduce costs and stimulate growth of new applications and markets.

Governments are raising their strategic and economic ambitions, while many non-European industries have already invested significant amounts, both inside and outside Europe.
Beijing has placed significant efforts and investments into quantum technology research, along with presenting breathtaking technological projects. The QUESS quantum satellite will be developed in cooperation with European countries. 

China is becoming a world leader in such technology; a satellite that delivers quantum communications to act as a cornerstone for translating cutting-edge research into a strategic asset for the nation.

It will be launched in July 2016. Chief scientist Pan Jianwei said QUESS will complete China's growing quantum communications network, which includes a 2,000-kilometer-long network between Beijing and Shanghai.

QUESS's function is to test the phenomena of quantum entanglement. Operated by the China Academy of Sciences, the 500kg satellite contains a quantum key communicator, quantum entanglement emitter, entanglement source, processing unit, and a laser communicator.

QUESS will relay transmissions between two ground stations (one in China, and the other in Europe) transmitting quantum keys. Pan said the distances involved (QUESS orbits at an altitude of 1,000km) would be ideal for testing quantum teleportation of photons.

The Austrian Academy of Sciences will provide optical receivers for European ground stations. Yet the strangest detail of the announcement had to do with the satellite the group had selected in the first place.

They claimed to have used CHAMP, a German satellite that was de-orbited in 2010. A breakthrough in quantum technology has earned China's top science accolade as Chinese President Xi Jinping handed the State Natural Science Award (first class) to Pan Jianwei’s team in Beijing.

Pan's team at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui province, set a world record in terms of quantum teleportation, or sending quantum information - for example, the exact state of an atom - from one place to another.

The revolutionary technology is expected to pave the way for developing unbreakable quantum communication networks, as well as building a quantum computer billions of times faster than current supercomputers.
International cooperation is growing. Among important conferences would be the EMN Meeting on Quantum Technology, which had been attended by international scientists and researchers on April 14-17, 2015 in Beijing.

The EMN Meetings include five annual gatherings: EMN Fall (Orlando), EMN Spring (Las Vegas), EMN Summer (Cancun), EMN East (Beijing), and EMN Open (Chengdu); mainly held in China and USA.

With the new EU flagship initiative in quantum technology, other countries may likely start similar initiatives to expand into international competitions and cooperation in the quantum technology research field. The cooperation between China and EU would gain new momentum as well.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



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Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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