The promise

We’re reaching a once-in-a-generation moment. A seismic technology shift that will redefine the art of the possible in domains as established and varied as drug discovery, satellite communications and robotics navigation. This is the second quantum revolution. And it will drive applications that are – right now at least – entirely unimaginable.

We need to recalibrate our collective expectations. It’s wrong to assume that the digital technologies currently transforming our world will prevail indefinitely. Limitations are evident already. Barriers are looming that mean data can never be truly secure. Vital scientific simulations will remain insoluble, no matter how many supercomputers we throw at them. But quantum technology will enable breakthroughs which are unthinkable with today’s ‘classical’ computers.

The challenge

Quantum technology is seriously demanding. Fundamental particles are manipulated while isolated from the surrounding environment – a challenging task to replicate outside the lab in robust, practical, cost-effective systems. Whole new development approaches are required to specify, develop and test quantum systems.

But perhaps the biggest hurdle is that the weird physics can feel utterly alien. Quantum phenomena are counterintuitive to anything else in science or engineering. We are essentially dealing with teleportation, with particles existing in two places at the same time. A new wave of experts, with deep insight into physics, computer science and material science, is rising to the challenge. Quantum is happening.

Quantum computing

Some say quantum computers offer speed increments ‘beyond Moore’s Law’. But that’s like calling a printing press a better pen. It misses the transformative nature of the invention, which is no longer just a theoretical possibility. Useful applications may only be three to five years away.

Ask one of these machines the right question in the right way, and it will answer in milliseconds – rather than the seconds, hours, days or years that the best supercomputers would take. Now apply that perspective to the simulation of new materials and compounds enabled by quantum computers. It will revolutionise countless endeavours, from designing better batteries to creating new pharmaceuticals.

Radical quantum sensors

Exquisitely precise quantum sensors are emerging that mark a leap forward of 100 or even 1,000 times. This new generation is allowing new phenomena to be observed for the very first time. The sensors are capable of detecting anything from complex communication signals to the connections of the brain. From underground mineral deposits to precise monitoring of volcanic activity. The possibilities are boundless – and some of them our captured in our video that unpacks the potential of quantum sensing.

Quantum control for enhanced sensing

Current gas detection techniques are incredibly advanced – can we really do anything better?

Secure quantum key distribution

Quantum computers present an existential threat to security in an increasingly digital world. Their ability to crack commonly used encryption schemes means that many of the world's cryptosystems are already obsolete. Quantum key distribution (QKD) allows for communication where the secret keys are distributed in a way that cannot be effectively intercepted. Their secrecy is guaranteed by quantum mechanics.

This physics based approach will be essential for protecting data that must remain secret for decades. Examples include sensitive information about critical infrastructure, commercial secrets or personal genomic data. Organisations are already factoring in the threat of quantum computers into their long term roadmaps and seeking partners who can help meet the complex technical challenges.

Quantum computing - we must confront the threat to digital security

Quantum computing is a hotbed of innovation. The extraordinary potential of this weird yet wonderful intersection of physics, maths and computer science is attracting heavy investment from companies around the world.

What's next?

We’re on the case. Our scientists and engineers are researching practical applications of quantum technology within our own purpose-built labs, pushing boundaries well beyond conventional, ‘classical’ approaches. We call it ‘Quantum@CC’ – a place for us to crack open the mystery and redefine the state of the art. It’s where the unusual physics of quantum mechanics meets practical engineering and technology development. And where the impossible starts to become possible.

Investing in quantum: don’t play dice

Investing in quantum technology isn't easy. Distinguishing the hype from the real potential is just as complicated as the technology itself – and that can be incredibly complex. But investing in the right quantum technology is also hugely attractive. The tech coming out of labs around the world right now promises enormous benefits… In this video, I reveal ways that we at Cambridge Consultants can help investors make the right calls to gain those benefits.

We can help you achieve the seemingly impossible