Quantum News Briefs: November 17th, 2023:
NASA’s Cold Atom Lab Sets Stage for Quantum Chemistry in Space
In a groundbreaking scientific advancement, NASA‘s Cold Atom Laboratory aboard the International Space Station has successfully created a quantum gas containing two different types of atoms for the first time in space. This significant achievement opens new avenues for quantum research and technologies in space, previously limited to Earth. Quantum tools, integral to devices ranging from cellphones to medical equipment, could now be utilized to enhance planetary studies and delve deeper into the universe’s mysteries. The Cold Atom Lab operated remotely from Earth, allows for a comprehensive exploration of quantum properties and chemistry, particularly how different atoms interact in a quantum state in microgravity. This capability is pivotal for developing new space-based quantum technologies. The latest findings, detailed in the Nov. 16 issue of Nature, offer a new perspective on atomic behavior in microgravity, potentially leading to advances in fundamental physics and the creation of highly sensitive detectors for various applications, including magnetic field strength measurement. This research not only furthers our understanding of quantum physics but also contributes to the ongoing quest to reconcile the laws of gravity with those of quantum mechanics, addressing one of modern physics’ most profound mysteries.
Equinix and Alice & Bob Partner to Help Businesses In the United States Enter the Quantum Computing Era
In November 2023, Boston-based Equinix, Inc., a global leader in digital infrastructure, announced a significant collaboration with Alice & Bob, a prominent quantum computing company known for its reliable quantum processors. This partnership will enable Equinix customers worldwide to securely access Alice & Bob’s advanced quantum technology through Equinix Metal and Equinix Fabric. Additionally, customers will benefit from Alice & Bob’s quantum strategy services, potentially unlocking billion-dollar opportunities. Alice & Bob’s pioneering technology includes the development of the cat qubit, a self-correcting superconducting quantum bit, positioning them to revolutionize quantum computing and commercial applications. This collaboration marks a significant step in bringing quantum computing’s transformative potential into practical use across various industries, with Equinix providing a secure and innovative platform for these advancements.
U.S. Navy Works with the University of California at Riverside to Advance Major Computing Breakthrough
The Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) and the University of California, Riverside (UCR) are making strides in quantum computing. UCR’s team, led by Dr. Bryan Wong, is exploring quantum control algorithms to manipulate electrons and qubits, the fundamental components of quantum computers. These efforts contrast with traditional computing methods, focusing on quantum states for data storage and complex computations. The research, involving graduate students Yuan Chen and Simon Sandhofer, aims to solve intricate mathematical problems beyond the scope of current computers and human capability. This project not only enhances scientific understanding in controlling quantum systems but also supports training students in fields relevant to the Navy. The advancements in quantum computing hold significant implications for the future, potentially revolutionizing technology and maintaining U.S. leadership in naval engineering and beyond.
DarkQuantum Project Receives A European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grant to Use Quantum Technology in Search of Dark Matter
Dark matter, an elusive yet omnipresent substance in our universe, could soon be better-understood thanks to the European DarkQuantum project, which seeks to prove the existence of axions potential dark matter particles. Funded by a prestigious European Research Council Synergy Grant and involving eight European universities and research institutes, the project is spearheaded by Professor Wolfgang Wernsdorfer of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and colleagues from Germany, Spain, France, and Finland. Using innovative quantum-based haloscopes, DarkQuantum combines quantum technology and particle physics to detect axions within the Milky Way’s galactic halo. These sensors, utilizing superconducting qubits, are designed to be exceptionally sensitive to small electromagnetic radiation amounts, with lower background noise than traditional technologies. The project, which will run for six years with a budget of 12.9 million euros, aims to construct two haloscopes to record axions converting into photons in a strong magnetic field, potentially revolutionizing our understanding of reality.
IDTechEx Takes a Look at the Next 10 Years of Quantum Computers vs. Quantum Sensors
The rapidly evolving quantum technology sector, encompassing both quantum computers and sensors, is experiencing a divergent growth trajectory and investment focus, according to IDTechEx reports. Quantum computers, known for their potential to speed up computations exponentially, attract significant public interest and private investment, buoyed by their broad market applicability. In contrast, quantum sensors, used in specific applications like biomagnetic brain scanning or underground mapping, garner less public attention but receive comparable, if not greater, government funding. This disparity reflects the market-specific utility of quantum sensors versus the more general-purpose appeal of quantum computers. The differing nature of funding further shapes the sector’s development: while quantum computing benefits from large private investments, quantum sensing relies more on government spending. This funding landscape suggests a faster commercialization pace for quantum computing, despite the substantial societal benefits offered by both technologies.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, Ars Technica, and more.