Metrology makes the second quantum revolution more reliable

Introduction to the European Metrology Network (EMN) for Quantum Technologies 

Europe has recently invested 1 billion euros in the development of quantum technologies, as part of the funding programme “Quantum Flagship”. The USA authorised at least up to 1.2 billion dollars for their Quantum R&D. China is also believed to be making the largest investments in the technology, although there is little authoritative information on exactly how much. Nevertheless, these financial endowments illustrate that quantum technologies are not abstract scientific concepts, and that there is a worldwide interest in these technologies. For example, there is already a strong drive to develop new satellite infrastructures based on quantum technologies, more efficient cryptography of information, and powerful quantum computers. Such disruptive technologies are set to pose a 2nd quantum revolution.

Metrology is a key element for the success of quantum technologies. To meet this need, a European-wide network of metrologists have joined together to support the development of the 2nd quantum revolution. “Our objective is to further the metrology that will be necessary for the creation of trustable quantum technology,” says Ivo Pietro Degiovanni, acting chair of the Quantum Technology network, “The EMN is meant to be the metrological infrastructure that supports its development.” As Ivo points out, “The first quantum computers that are able to carry on complex simulations in a more efficient way than classical computers already exist, but how can we be sure that the quantum computer is performing the task properly? They still make mistakes.” Ivo also argues that a new technology can only be successful when it is trusted by its customers, and the only way to achieve that is to have standardisation. Of course, every standardisation process requires measurements.

The EMN for Quantum Technologies is dedicated to working closely with industry partners and organisations like the European Flagship. “We should know what they are working on and developing so we can match our metrological efforts with their needs and the needs of industry.” says Ivo. The benefit for industry partners working together with the EMN is, on one hand, to have access to technologies and facilities of the network, and on the other to help shape the way the EMN works.

Supporting emerging quantum technologies will present a huge amount of work to the metrological community, which couldn´t be performed by a single National Metrology Institute (NMI) and Designated Institutes (DIs) alone. As Ivo puts it, “The only way to demonstrate our ability to support the needs of the industry and society is to bring the European measurement community together. Then, we can develop this new field of metrology efficiently, to help progress and promote the second quantum revolution”.

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