The technological revolution of the last several decades has brought about amazing advances in the way we live our lives. But now we have to step up the game. With the ever-increasing energy needs required to run the internet, and cybersecurity becoming a ubiquitous threat, the global science community is asking, “What new technology will further the path of unprecedented progress?”
The Answer Is Quantum Technology
Applications of quantum technology are leading to practical devices for computing, communication and sensing, and imaging devices. These applications are important not only for the development of new products, but also for the critical role quantum technology can play in Israel’s national economy and security.
What Is Quantum?
Quantum comes from the Latin “quantus,” meaning “how much?” In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. When used in physics, the term “quantum mechanics” refers to the fundamental framework for understanding and describing nature at the smallest scale.
Quantum physics was conceived in the early 1900s. It was the main thrust of physics and chemistry research for nearly 100 years, but remained mainly a theoretical concept.
In the late 20th century, physicists and engineers mastered the art of nanotechnology, which enables the fabrication of very small entities. It was suddenly possible to apply quantum theory to real-world electronics and optoelectronics components to serve in computers sensors, as well as imaging and communication systems.
How Will Quantum Change the World?
Quantum technology holds untold possibilities for building a better, safer world:
- Using “single photon emitters” and “single photon detectors,” quantum technology can help devise secure, unhackable communication channels to thwart cyberattacks that can disrupt a nation’s infrastructure.
- Combining a new class of quantum devices and computer science, quantum technology is starting to be used in major computing industries by Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
- The global energy crisis stems partially from the vast energy required to support the ever-growing use of the internet. The solution is to revolutionize the components of computer systems and communications devices so they only use a small fraction of the energy they use now. The Technion is developing a new generation of quantum devices with ultra-low-energy consumption that will expand our computing and communications systems.
- Quantum technology allows us to develop sensing devices that contain smaller, more sensitive sensors. These can be used for a variety of biomedical purposes, including implantable diagnostic sensors and super-resolution medical imaging.
- The technology is also being used to support national defense through the development of ultra-sensitive night vision technology and sensors for magnetic fields, acceleration, temperature, hazardous materials, and dangerous environmental conditions.
The Technion: A Leader in Quantum Innovation
Every day, interdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers at the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion are changing the world. The Technion’s infrastructure and expertise are taking things scientists only imagined in the quantum theoretical world and making them a reality.
For example, Professor David Gershoni’s team was the first to prove that “quantum dots” — tiny particles of semiconducting materials — emit single photons. Today, the Technion is a world leader in the development of photon emitters, which could lead to faster computers, better communications technologies, and a more secure internet.
The key to the Technion’s success is a cohesive research culture, which combines fundamental science and advanced engineering to make great advances in quantum science, matter, and engineering research. Working together, Technion researchers can take what is learned in quantum-level research to develop devices that take advantage of quantum science.
Collaboration doesn’t stop at the walls of the Technion: It has also formed collaborative relationships with other world-class universities, including the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada — a world leader in quantum computing — the Weizmann Institute of Science, California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan.