Quantum technology

Quantum technology opens the gate to a new age. After making the interaction of light and matter utilizable in a variety of applications within a period of 40 years – thus initiating rapid innovation in industry, medicine, communications and research – the photonics industry is now continuing along this road to success through the microcosm and nanocosm. Whereas laser technology, sensor technology and imaging are based on the manipulation of photons at the macro level, quantum technology is concerned with the ability to measure and manipulate individual light quanta. Exhibitors at LASER World of PHOTONICS develop and manufacture the equipment required for this purpose: high-precision beam sources, polarizers, optical resonators, photon counters, frequency combs, vacuum and cryogenic technology or even atom and ion traps.

They thus create the foundation for a rapid introduction of quantum technology in industrial and medical applications. As measurement and manipulation of even magnetic fields and dynamic effects at the level of elementary particles – including photons and electrons – comes within reach, incredible potential opens up in computer technology, digital communication, medical diagnostics, materials research, navigation, climate protection and disaster control. Governments around the world have recognized this opportunity and are now channeling billions of dollars in funding into the future field of quantum technology.

Performing previously unthinkable measurements

The developments in quantum sensor technology and quantum imaging are particularly promising. Research in these fields provides images of the previously invisible with unprecedented precision. This technology will allow physicians to diagnose and localize mutated tissue as well as diseases of the cardiovascular system at an earlier stage. Non-destructive observation methods for cell metabolism processes and cerebral functions of living patients have the potential to significantly enhance our understanding of diseases – and to pave the way for preventive treatment approaches. In addition to physicians, material scientists and drug developers, climate and space researchers as well as geologists also have high hopes for a new kind of sensor technology and imaging that will provide results with a precision far beyond that of any existing system. For example, ultra-precise atomic clocks and acceleration sensors are considered the foundation of next-generation navigation technology. Quantum imaging has the potential to uncover hidden material damage at an early stage. And even precise predictions of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis are coming within reach as quantum-based gravitational measurement systems are enabled to provide images of invisible geological processes in the earth's interior.

A new era of information and communication technology

There is tangible progress in quantum computing and quantum communication as well. The first supercomputers based on qubits instead of bits are on the threshold of market maturity and promise exponential growth in computing power. This allows even highly complex simulations to be parallelized and attracts great attention from sectors such as financial, logistics, pharmaceutical, chemical, research and automotive. After all, high-performance quantum computers could help them accelerate highly complex innovation processes in the future. These include, for example:

  • virtualized matching of active substances for new drugs,
  • quantum chemical material simulations for next-generation energy storage systems,
  • optimization of logistics processes or high-frequency trading at stock exchanges and
  • simulations of complex traffic situations for the development of autonomous vehicles.

Where large amounts of sensitive data are processed, IT security is high on the agenda. And here, too, quantum technology opens up an entire world of new opportunities. The first sections of a quantum internet are being developed in China and the EU. The phenomenon of quantum entanglement – i.e. the inseparable connection between two twin photons – enables a new kind of data transmission that cannot be intercepted or manipulated. Any attempt to hack quantum-encrypted data breaks the quantum entanglement and can be reliably detected. After China, the EU is also currently pushing this technology and is expected to send a first quantum encryption satellite into space in 2022.

Quantum technology—the next revolution

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The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Braunschweig (PTB) is currently researching the most accurate clock in the world. Prof. Piet Schmidt provides insights into the daily research work and visions of quantum technology in the field of photonics. Also at LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019 in Munich there will be exciting supporting program items on this megatrend.

New focal point at LASER

LASER World of PHOTONICS 2021 will have a dedicated exhibition platform for optical quantum technologies for the first time and invites companies to present their innovations and development activities. LASER has expanded its product index specifically for this purpose.

The new entries are:

  • Laser systems for quantum technology
  • Measuring and analysis systems for optical parameters
  • Quantum computing and quantum communication
  • Quantum sensors and quantum imaging

The applications that make quantum technology possible will also play an important role in the trade fair's supporting program. In the World of Photonics Congress, which is held simultaneously, the latest findings of basic research in quantum physics will be discussed. Be there when the most important stakeholders in global quantum research and major enablers of industrial applications gather at LASER World of PHOTONICS and the World of Photonics Congress in Munich in June 2021.

LASER World of PHOTONICS and the World of Photonics Congress bring together the most important stakeholders in global quantum research and major enablers of industrial applications in Munich every two years. The continuous exchange between researchers and industrial innovators is the key to quick translations of new findings in basic quantum physics research and advancements in the field of photonic building blocks into successful products and visionary solutions.