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Quantum News Briefs: November 23, 2023: U of Sydney Awarded Wellcome Leap Contract to Study Quantum Tech for Medicine; 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit at Stanford discusses Quantum Tech for Clean Energy, and MORE!

Quantum News Briefs looks at news in the quantum industry.
By Kenna Hughes-Castleberry posted 23 Nov 2023

Quantum News Briefs: November 23, 2023: 

University of Sydney Nano Institute Awarded Wellcome Leap Contract to Study Quantum Technology for Medicine

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A project at the University of Sydney Nano Institute, led by Dr. Tingrei Tan, has been awarded funding by Wellcome Leap, a US non-profit organization, to advance quantum technology in healthcare. This initiative, part of the multimillion-dollar Quantum for Bio (Q4Bio) program, is the only Australian project selected among global teams. The Sydney team aims to harness quantum technology to create new molecules to treat skin cancers and enhance sunscreens. The project combines the expertise of Dr. Tan in Physics, Associate Professor Ivan Kassal in Chemistry, and Professor Pablo Fernandez Peñas in Medicine, focusing on the rapid chemical reactions in photoactive medications and sunscreens. Their research, recently published in Nature Chemistry, demonstrated a significant slowdown in quantum simulations of these reactions, a breakthrough in computational drug discovery. This multidisciplinary effort aims to revolutionize the understanding and treatment of diseases, leveraging quantum computing’s potential in fields like cryptography, materials science, and drug design. The University of Sydney is poised to lead in this arena with extensive quantum technology programs and collaborations, including the Sydney Quantum Academy and partnerships with Microsoft and Q-CTRL.

U.S., South Korean, and Japanese Leaders Discuss Quantum Technology and Clean Energy at Recent Summit

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At Stanford University, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol engaged in a landmark discussion focused on the future of clean energy, quantum technology, and innovation. This meeting, a part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, emphasized strengthening bilateral relations and advancing collaborative efforts in technology and science. Facilitated by the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Hoover Institution, the event was moderated by Condoleezza Rice, who emphasized the need for democratic allies to address the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies. Both leaders highlighted the importance of international cooperation in technological advancement, with Kishida stressing the interconnected nature of global innovation and Yoon underscoring the role of technology in economic growth and the pursuit of carbon neutrality. The discussion also delved into the potential of quantum technology and the imperative of equitable, sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. This event marked a significant step in the rapprochement between Japan and South Korea, illustrating a shared commitment to addressing global challenges through collaboration and innovation.

Single ions in nano-sized particles: A new platform for quantum information processing

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In a new Optica study, researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have demonstrated a significant advancement in quantum computing and networking. The team, led by ICREA Professor Hugues de Riedmatten, successfully addressed and detected single rare-earth ions, specifically erbium ions, within nanoparticles. These ions were coupled to a fiber-microcavity for efficient light-matter interaction, emitting single photons at telecommunication wavelengths. The study involved creating nanoparticles doped with these ions and cooled to about 6 K, using a unique nanopositioner to align a fiber with selected nanoparticles, forming an optical cavity. This setup enhanced light and matter interaction, evident from the increased emission rates of the ions, and enabled the researchers to confirm the detection of emission from single ions. This development paves the way for quantum processors with hundreds of qubits in a nanoscale volume, individually detectable and efficiently coupled to single photons, offering significant potential for quantum networking and the future of quantum hardware.

Researchers achieve zero-knowledge proof based on device-independent quantum random number beacon

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Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China, led by Professors Pan Jianwei and Zhang Qiang, have significantly enhanced the security of non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs (NIZKPs), a cryptographic method widely used in digital signature, blockchain, and identity authentication systems. Published in PNAS, their study introduced a novel public service system utilizing device-independent quantum random number generators (DIQRNGs) as entropy sources. This system broadcasts random numbers securely to the public in real time, employing a quantum secure signature algorithm to protect the numbers’ integrity and authenticity during transmission. Their work, marking the first integration of quantum nonlocality, quantum secure algorithms, and zero-knowledge proofs, offers a more secure NIZKP protocol that mitigates potential security risks. This advancement not only bolsters the security of NIZKPs but also has broad potential applications in cryptography, the lottery industry, and social welfare, signaling a promising future for quantum-based solutions in information security.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is the Managing Editor 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.

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