Dr. Aimee Gunther
Deputy Director, Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors Challenge program, National Research Council of Canada
The first generation of quantum devices, among them lasers and semiconductor-based transistors, brought on a technological revolution in the early 2000s and transformed society forever.
The first generation of quantum devices, among them lasers and semiconductor-based transistors, brought on a technological revolution in the early 2000s and transformed society forever. Today, a new generation of quantum technology is emerging that will help make the world an even safer, faster, and more productive place.
New quantum sensors will be among the first quantum technologies to market. Their precision and sensitivity will help peer into the tiniest features of the world more deeply than anything before. These sensing technologies will hold the promise of helping to solve disease, will build resilience against cyber attacks, and help secure the Internet of Things.
Under the National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors Challenge program, top quantum scientists at the NRC and the University of Waterloo (uWaterloo) are collaborating to develop such disruptive sensors and make them a reality. This means getting them out of the lab and into the field for testing, and eventually adapting them for daily use.
The joint research teams are harnessing the extreme sensitivity of quantum systems to make these super-delicate, fragile sensors robust and compact — and build them into chips to be used in all our smart devices.
Many of these collaborative projects will create enabling technologies, such as new methods for transporting information that is encoded in photons into solid-state spins. This will help enable delicate networks of quantum sensors and other next-generation quantum applications.
The collaboration brings together the NRC’s quantum photonics talent and facilities for building state-of-the-art integrated optics with the researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and students of the uWaterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.
Canadians will begin seeing these sensors in action in the very near future. In health care, they might drive new imaging capabilities for studying eye disorders or measuring brain activity. On the road or the battlefield, LiDAR systems, like those in self-driving vehicles, will use photons to measure position and velocity more precisely with less light needed. And in mining, sensors could detect new underground mineral deposits.
Together, our researchers will engineer the next-generation quantum sensors.
This article was supported by the National Research Council of Canada.