Sensing and Devices

To understand the potential for quantum sensors, it’s important to understand how fragile quantum states are. Protecting them from their environment is among the biggest engineering challenges standing in the way of realising quantum computation at scale. It is absolutely critical that the quantum bits (qubits) within a quantum computer interact as little as possible with the outside world, because exposure to even minor fluctuations in electromagnetic fields, temperature and vibration can have terminal implications. Large and expensive dilution refrigerators are required to isolate qubits from these external interactions to make the quantum computer stable.

Now, if we flip this around to a different application area, sensing, it’s actually possible to capitalise on the extreme fragility of quantum bits and use them for ultrasensitive measurement. So, rather than fighting to protect the qubit from the environment, its very fragility is harnessed and used to measure very weak signals of electromagnetic fields, gravity, temperature and so on.

This is the field of “quantum sensors” and The Quantum Technologies Future Science Platform will focus extending our current, long-standing expertise in superconducting quantum devices for sensing, new quantum sensing technologies and new application areas.