Quantum technologies has gained significant attention in recent years and players across various fields are exploring its potential. Meet four of our skilled employees, with expert knowledge in one of the most challenging fields in physics.
Nastaran Dashti, Maciej Misiorny, Andreas Käck and Sankar Sathyamoorthy, are Development Engineers at QRTECH and all hold a PhD in quantum physics. If you are not an expert yourself, we can tell you that quantum mechanics describes the physical properties of nature at the atomic scale and is known to be one of the most challenging fields in physics. Systems with quantum behaviour don’t follow the rules that we are used to. For instance, one of their most unique features is the so-called uncertainty of a state which basically means that such systems can exist in several different states at the same time.
Today, emerging quantum technologies draw on the technical potential in quantum mechanics and its peculiar principles.
–Quantum mechanics is far more present in our daily life than one could expect. Take just as an example today’s electronics which relies vastly on quantum mechanics. If not quantum tunnelling, elements such as diodes and transistors wouldn’t work, Maciej says.
Tunnelling, one of the first discovered and strangest quantum effects, is the most prominent manifestation of the uncertainty principle. This effect corresponds to a situation when a particle can be found on the other side of a barrier even if it is not able to climb over the barrier.
–We can think of tunnelling as if we could go through closed doors without destroying them and without hurting ourselves, but of course only if we were of a size of particles, Maciej adds.
More calculation power leads to more problem-solving capacity
More recently, quantum mechanics has triumphed as a new paradigm for computing. In conventional computers information is processed in the form of bits which represent the smallest information units. Information is then stored in a binary fashion, namely a bit can be in either of two states, commonly denoted as ‘zero’ and ‘one’. The rules of play change completely when a bit becomes a quantum object (often referred shortly to as a ‘qubit’) entirely governed by principles of quantum mechanics. Not only can a qubit be just in one of the two states, but in fact it has the capability of being in a superimposition of various combinations of such states (known as a ‘superposition’).
–The advantage of being in several states at the same time is that more information can be stored and processed. Furthermore, if qubits become coupled to each other, the number of possible combinations, and consequently also the computing power, grows exponentially, Andreas explains.
More calculation power leads to more problem-solving capacity. Quantum computing has gained much attention across various fields, such as aviation, drug development, machine learning and artificial intelligence. No less is the interest in quantum computing within the automotive industry;
–Volkswagen has demonstrated how to implement quantum computing to reduce traffic congestion and Daimler, Ford and Toyota are focusing their efforts on solving various optimization problems using quantum computing and algorithms. Quantum simulations are also utilized for developing novel materials for a next generation of batteries, Nastaran says.
According to the McKinsey report Will quantum computing drive the automotive future? in 2020 one tenth of all potential use cases for quantum computing could benefit the automotive industry, and it’s expected that automotive will become one of the primary recipients of quantum technologies.
Even if the field of quantum mechanics is considered to be among the most difficult you can get into, it’s actually quite simple; just connect people with the problems with people with the knowledge.
–One could say that quantum computers harness laws of nature that are always there but usually remain hidden from view, Sankar concludes.
So, let’s bring them it to light.