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About National Quantum Mission

Context:

Recently, the union cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the National Quantum Mission (NQM) to aid scientific and industrial research and development in quantum technology.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About National Quantum Mission
  2. Significance of NQM
  3. Quantum technology

About National Quantum Mission

  • India’s National Quantum Mission (NQM) is a program initiated by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It is a long-term mission, planned for 2023-2031, that aims to seed, nurture, and scale up scientific and industrial R&D and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Quantum Technology (QT).
Salient features of NQM include:
  • Developing intermediate scale quantum computers with 50-100 physical qubits in 5 years and 50-1000 physical qubits in 8 years
  • Developing magnetometers with high sensitivity for precision timing, communications, and navigation
  • Supporting design and synthesis of quantum materials such as superconductors, novel semiconductor structures, and topological materials for fabrication of quantum devices
  • Developing satellite-based secure quantum communications between ground stations over a range of 2000 km within India
  • Developing long-distance secure quantum communications with other countries
  • Developing inter-city quantum key distribution over 2000 km
  • Developing multi-node Quantum network with quantum memories
  • Setting up four Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs) in top academic and National R&D institutes on the domains of Quantum Technology: Quantum computation, Quantum communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices
Significance of NQM:
  • Accelerating QT led economic growth and making India one of the leading nations in the development of Quantum Technologies & Applications (QTA) ranging from healthcare and diagnostics, defense, energy, and data security.
  • Working towards indigenously building quantum-based computers which are far more powerful and able to solve the most complex problems in a highly secure manner.
    • With the launch of this mission, India will become the seventh country to have a dedicated quantum mission after the US, Austria, Finland, France, Canada, and China.

Quantum technology:

  • Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, according to classical physics (based on Newtonian mechanics)
  • It was thought until the early twentieth century that this was a fundamental physics law that was followed by everything in nature
  • However, scientists began to look into particles like atoms, electrons, and light waves that did not appear to follow these laws.
  • The subject of quantum mechanics was founded by Max Planck, Neils Bohr, and Albert Einstein in an attempt to investigate the “quirky” principles that did bind such particles.
About:
  • It is a type of technology (developed in the early twentieth century) that operates on the principles of quantum mechanics – the physics of subatomic particles, such as quantum entanglement and quantum superposition.
  • As a result, it is based on phenomena exhibited by microscopic particles (such as photons, electrons, atoms, and so on) that differ significantly from how normal macroscopic objects behave.

There are Four domains of Quantum Technology:

  • Quantum communication
  • Quantum simulation
  • Quantum computation
  • Quantum sensing and metrology

The underlying principles of quantum technology are as follows:

Quantum entanglement (QE):
  • Quantum entanglement occurs when two atoms are connected or entangled despite their separation
  • If one atom’s properties change, the other changes instantly, and quantum mechanics observe these changes in properties.
  • It improves communication security by using quantum-protected encrypted keys, and entangled atoms can be used to detect whether data transmission has been compromised.
Quantum entanglement:
  • Quantum superposition is the theory that subatomic particles can exist in multiple states at the same time.
  • Quantum computers are a practical application of this principle.
  • Whereas digital computers store data as bits (binary of 0 and 1), quantum computers use qubits, which can be either a 1 or a 0 at the same time.
  • This superposition generates a nearly infinite set of options, allowing for extremely fast calculations.

Applications:

Quantum technology promises to improve a wide range of everyday devices, including:

  • Improved navigation and timing systems.
  • Improved communication security.
  • Improved healthcare imaging through quantum sensing (using quantum phenomenon to perform a measurement of a physical quantity).
  • Quantum computers provide more powerful computing.
  • Improved disaster management through better prediction, computing, and so on.
  • To comprehend biological phenomena such as smell and consciousness, as well as the spread of pandemics such as Covid-19, etc.

-Source: The Hindu


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