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Changing the way we look at quantum technology

The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore is changing the ways in which quantum technology is used. They are developing new solutions and innovations in this tech area.

Quantum tech in space?

The team under Associate Professor Alexander Ling is working on advancing research and innovation on quantum satellites through their collaboration with Singtel. They are looking at “bringing optical quantum technology out of the lab and into the field”.

In the development process of quantum satellites, the researches combined various aspects of physics together. They include system design and integration, low-power radiation-tolerant electronics and opto-mechanical design.

The team has two launched nanosatellites under its wing. The first tests of the team’s quantum instruments were done in space on the NUS satellite Galassia that was launched in 2015. On June 17, they deployed SpooQy-1, a quantum satellite that they had built. It was deployed into orbit from the International Space Station.

Prof Ling predicts that integrated photonics will largely influence the miniaturisation of quantum systems in future applications. “Our team also has an effort aimed at studying waveguide structures as sources of quantum entanglement, as well as studying how complete experiments may be fabricated on a single chip,” he said.

Quantum building blocks

Superconductors are a form of advanced materials that can change the ways of energy transportation. However, the lack of understanding of their dynamics on the microscopic scale poses a challenge to simulating them with classical computers.

Assistant Professor Loh Huanqian suggested a solution of assembling ultracold atoms and molecules as quantum building blocks. These quantum blocks will imitate the dynamics of the superconductors. “Ultracold molecules, in particular, offer rich interactions compared to atoms, making them highly versatile ‘Lego bricks’ for quantum simulation,” she said.

Prof Loh’s and her team are focusing on manipulating these atoms and molecules at the single-molecule, single-quantum-state level to achieve this outcome. “To access this regime, we will develop methods to precisely control the motion, internal quantum states, and spatial arrangement of individual molecules,” said Prof Loh.

The team has ideas of harnessing the ultracold molecules for explorations of new condensed matter phases, quantum information storage, and more.

Quantum computers and simulators

Quantum computers and simulators are predicted solutions to solving tedious classical problems. Associate Professor Dimitris G. Angelakis said “Classical computers require enormous computing power and memory to simulate even the most modest quantum systems. Instead, we could use another more controllable and perhaps artificial quantum system as a ‘quantum simulator’.”

Prof Angelakis and his team are focusing on designing new algorithms and software for quantum devices which could be potentially used in areas such as quantum chemistry, material science, machine learning and AI, and data science.

His team works with all quantum platforms with recent focus on superconducting quantum circuits, room temperature light-matter systems and integrated photonic chips.

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