Quantum mechanics is an indispensable part of our technical life and yet it is hard to grasp with our everyday understanding. The two physicists Catherine Dubourdieu and Tommaso Calarco talk about why fascinating quantum research is currently a megatrend in science and what the advantage of quantum computers is.
Quantum technology quickly takes you to the limits of your own imagination: Because the tiny quanta can exist in different states at the same time. And not only that: two quanta can also be strongly connected to each other without being in the same place. These extraordinary properties currently make quantum technology a megatrend in research. After the first quantum revolution, which brought indispensable technologies such as transistors and lasers in the 20th century and formed the basis for the development of computers, cell phones and even the Internet, scientists are now already talking about the second quantum revolution.
But which kind of new technologies will it entail? What does it mean for cybersecurity and navigation? Will it also enable the reading of brain activity in the future? And why are there such high hopes in the development of quantum computers? We discussed all these questions with scientists Catherine Dubourdieu and Tommaso Calarco at the virtual annual meeting of the Helmholtz Association.
The physicist Catherine Dubourdieu is researching high-tech materials to make future computer generations and quantum computers more energy-efficient. She is also involved in setting up the Helmholtz Energy Materials Foundry (HEMF) at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin. Tommaso Calarco heads the Institute of Quantum Control at Forschungszentrum Jülich at the Peter Grünberg Institute. As author of the European Quantum Manifesto, he is one of the most influential representatives of his field. His wish is for Europe to lead the second quantum revolution. An ambitious goal - both scientists are aware of this. After all, the small quanta are idiosyncratic and of a delicate nature: "It's like trying to keep a snowball alive in the middle of hell," says Calarco.