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DTU to develop quantum communication

DTU’s test and fabrication facilities for quantum technology under the auspices of NATO will be run by projects that can be exploited commercially and in terms of security politics.

Projects focusing on the development of quantum computers and quantum encryption will be given high priority in a new NATO test and fabrication facility according to Professor Ulrik Lund Andersen at DTU.

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There is not yet a universal, error-corrected quantum computer that can solve all the tasks it is asked. The American IT company Google has developed a processor based on quantum bits in the form of superconducting electronics, so-called transmons. The processor only works if there is no electrical resistance, and Google ensures this by cooling the system down to very low temperatures, so that the circuit becomes superconducting and the electrons flow freely. And to remove destructive noise from the surroundings, the processor is cooled down to 10 mK. Google has done a calculation in a few minutes in a quantum processor, which would take several days to make on even the most powerful traditional supercomputer.

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Therefore, based on a bid from Denmark, NATO has decided to establish a centre for quantum technology on Danish soil. This entails establishing test facilities at DTU for the development and fabrication of quantum technology solutions. This could include the development of quantum computers that can make unprecedented calculations, quantum encryption devices that can prevent hacking, and quantum sensors.

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Quantum mechanics—or quantum physics—is a branch of physics concerned with the properties of matter and electromagnetic fields at particle level. 
Three basic principles of quantum mechanics:


An object in the microscopic world can be in a superposition state, which means that it can assume two values at the same time. For example, the object can be in two places in space at the same time. This puts it far outside the realms of classical physics, which says that an object can only have one value.


If you perform a measurement on an object, such as an atom—which can be in two places at the same time—the atom will collapse at the moment of being measured and assume only one value. That means if the atom was in a superposition of being in two places at the same time, following measurement it will only be in one place.

• Entangling.

Two particles can be linked to each other, irrespective of how far they are from each other in the universe, and if you change one particle, the other will be able to ‘feel’ the change. They are said to be quantum correlated. This is called entanglement.

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Microchips have become a key technology in the digital society. Denmark needs strong research environments and a large-scale clean room for chip production in order to be able to develop the nano- and microchips of the future. Read DTU's theme on chip technology.