Inside Quantum Technology

Quantum News Briefs March 29: Quantum technologies could be applied to the electrical grid for security & sustainability improvements; API3 Integrates QuintessenceLabs to Provide QRNG Service; U of Birmingham researchers awarded two projects with £1 million each to study use of quantum sensor technology for environmental applications + MORE

Quantum News Briefs looks at news in the quantum industry.

Quantum News Briefs is a news series that looks at news in the quantum computing industry.

Quantum News Briefs March 29: Quantum information technologies could be applied to the electrical grid for security and sustainability improvements; API3 Integrates QuintessenceLabs to Provide QRNG Service; U of Birmingham researchers awarded two projects with £1 million each to study use of quantum sensor technology for environmental applications + MORE.

Quantum information technologies could be applied to the electrical grid for security and sustainability improvements

Rima Oueid, a senior commercialization executive at the Department of Energy, during a recent forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies explained that the agency is exploring how to apply faster, more secure QIS tech to the country’s electrical grid. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the NextGov article by Alexandra  Kelley who covered Queid’s speech.
“At the Department of Energy, we’re working on quantum [technologies] from the standpoint of basic science research, but also looking at it all the way across the spectrum into commercialization and deployment,” Oueid said. She explained that while Energy has received funding to help develop a fault-tolerant quantum computer and corresponding network, her office has turned its attention to other applications of QIS that can optimize the U.S. power grid.
“There’s also an opportunity for quantum sensing technologies to do anomaly detection for quantum atomic clocks, to do position navigation and timing, because our grid is not only connected to renewable energy assets, but also electric vehicles that put power back on the grid,” she said. “And so quantum sensors and quantum clocks can be deployed onto vehicles that become assets to the grid.”
In addition to supporting widespread electric vehicle deployment, Oueid added that quantum computing can also add to the security of the U.S.’s electrical grid by conducting sophisticated contingency analyses.
She further confirmed that there is already a national working group in place spanning several federal agencies to help identify ways to secure global positioning system technologies, which interact with the electrical grid. As electric vehicles stand to further integrate with the grid and GPS technologies, quantum sensing could determine if these connected devices will be assets or security liabilities.
Energy is also aiming to further research and deploy hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative energy source, and Oueid noted that quantum sensing can be utilized in this capacity to prevent methane leakage, as well as precisely measure the environmental impacts of oil and natural gas drilling and other geothermal operations. Click here to read NextGov article in-entirety.


API3 Integrates QuintessenceLabs to Provide QRNG Service

QuintessenceLabs announced March 28 that API3, a provider of first-party data feed services such as decentralized application programming interfaces (dAPIs), has selected QuintessenceLabs’ qStream Entropy-as-a-Service (EaaS) solution to provide truly random numbers for API3 QRNG, a public good quantum RNG service for smart contracts.
The qStream quantum random number generator (QRNG) uses quantum physics to create truly random numbers, making them virtually unhackable, even by quantum computers. This is critical for sensitive applications like gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and generative art, where maximum security is desired. Unlike pseudo-random number generators, which do not use quantum science, qStream creates true entropy so the numbers it generates can’t be re-created by criminals seeking to compromise encryption.
“As the adoption of decentralized technologies continues to rise, the need for prioritizing security and privacy becomes even more critical. By offering QRNG as a public good, API3 and Quintessence Labs play a crucial role in equipping developers with a powerful tool to access entropy in their applications,” said Ashar Shahid, protocol engineer for API3.
Through the deployment of Airnode, API3 will provide the output of qStream as a public good, providing developers on 19 blockchains with QRNG. Currently, the permissionless oracle service has seen 85k requests with on-chain prediction markets, gaming, NFT, and lottery dApps utilizing the data feed. The qStream service will provide Web3 developers with access to modern encryption that cannot be compromised.
“True entropy is the key to providing secure encryption keys,” said Skip Norton, VP of Business Development for QuintessenceLabs. “If adversaries can’t crack the encryption keys, then they can’t compromise the content. By using our qStream entropy as a service, API3 is giving its customers unparalleled security, while enjoying the convenience of accessing QRNG as a service.” Click here to read the complete announcement.


U of Birmingham researchers awarded two projects with £1 million each to study use of quantum sensor technology for environmental applications

Researchers in the Colleges of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Life and Environment Sciences at the University of Birmingham have been awarded two projects with £1 million each in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council to investigate ways to build better climate models and to improve how (ground)water is detected in soils. Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
The first project, titled QT Gravity for the Global Geodetic Reference Frame, is led by Dr Yu-Hung Lien, Professor Kai Bongs, and Professor Michael Holynski, at the University of Birmingham; and Dr Victoria Smith and Dr Paul Wilkinson, from the British Geological Survey (BGS). It aims to open up new applications for quantum sensing in the environmental sciences, specifically through greater knowledge and understanding of environmental effects on the reference frames used internationally to monitor our dynamic earth, allowing better models to be made and improving evidence for political decisions to be generated.
The project will directly benefit geophysics, physics, and civil engineering research. The Global Geodetic Reference Frame is essential for Earth Observation sciences in terms of providing a stable and accurate platform for monitoring the Earth system, from monitoring changes, enabling disaster management, monitoring sea-level rise and climate change to providing accurate information for decision-makers. Click here to read complete announcement on UofBirmingham news site.

Uof Oxford researchers created quantum memory within a trapped-ion quantum network node.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have recently created a quantum memory within a trapped-ion quantum network node. Their unique memory design, introduced in a paper in Physical Review Letters, has been found to be extremely robust, meaning that it could store information for long periods of time despite ongoing network activity.
“We are building a network of quantum computers, which use trapped ions to store and process quantum information,” Peter Drmota, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told “To connect quantum processing devices, we use single photons emitted from a single atomic ion and utilize quantum entanglement between this ion and the photons.”
Trapped ions, charged atomic particles that are confined in space using electromagnetic fields, are a commonly used platform for realizing quantum computations. Photons (i.e., the particles of light), on the other hand, are generally used to transmit quantum information between distant nodes. Drmota and his colleagues have been exploring the possibility of combining trapped ions with photons, to create more powerful quantum technologies.
“Until now, we have implemented a reliable way of interfacing strontium ions and photons, and used this to generate long-lasting memories have been developed for calcium ions. In this experiment, we combine these capabilities for the first time, and show that it is possible to create high-quality entanglement between a strontium ion and a photon and thereafter store this entanglement in a nearby calcium ion.”
Integrating a quantum memory into a network node is a challenging task, as the criteria that need to be fulfilled for such a system to work are higher than those required for the creation of a standalone quantum processor. Most notably, the developed memory would need to be robust against concurrent network activity.
To create their quantum memory, Drmota and his colleagues used two different atomic species, namely strontium and calcium, as this allowed them to minimize crosstalk while establishing a network link. The limited crosstalk in this mixed-species architecture also allowed them to detect errors in real-time and to utilize what is known as in-sequence cooling. Mixed-species entangling gates provided the missing connection between the network and the memory. Click here to read source article.


Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990.  She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.


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