On May 17 2016, the European Commission announced the launch of the new FET Flagship on Quantum Technologies (as part of the Horizon 2020 Research Framework Programme), a 10-year research programme that will involve all Member States with a total investment of one billion euros from 2018. The call for the European Commission and Member States to support a Flagship for Quantum Technologies was made through the Quantum Manifesto, shared by more than 3,600 researchers, entrepreneurs and representatives of institutions with the aim of positioning Europe at the forefront of emerging technological challenges worldwide.
Italy can take on a role of absolute importance within the Flagship thanks to the scientific excellence present in the national territory. The Italian contribution to the preparation of The Flagship was guaranteed thanks to a major investment by CNR and MIUR amounting to 1.5 million euros to ERANet QuantERA, the consortium participated by more than 25 national agencies.
The Italian participation in flagship is coordinated by the CNR, commissioned by the former Minister of Education, University and Research, Stefania Giannini with the aim of contributing to the enhancement of Italian scientific excellence in the field and effectively supporting the fallout on industrial sectors of fundamental importance for the competitive development of the country.
will help protect the increasing amounts of citizens’ data transmitted digitally, for instance health records and financial transactions. A typical implementation of quantum networks uses single photons. If anything intercepts a single photon it will be noticed, meaning that with quantum technology we can achieve the most secure form of communication known, impossible to intercept without detection. For point-to-point communication, this is already on the market today and will be developed further into a quantum internet.
Closely related to quantum computers are quantum simulators. They will be key to the design of new chemicals, from drugs to fertilisers for future medicine and agriculture, and of new materials, such as hightemperature superconductors for energy distribution without losses. Some quantum simulators are specialised quantum computers. Others imitate the idea of a wind tunnel: while there, small models are used to understand the aerodynamics cars or planes, some quantum simulators use simple model quantum systems (such as an array of single atoms) to understand systems that would be even more difficult to experiment with.
QUANTUM SENSING & METROLOGY
In addition to Quantum Communication, Quantum sensors will arguably be the basis for the first applications of Quantum Technologies. They provide the most accurate measurements and will drastically increase the performance of consumer devices and services, from medical diagnostics and imaging to high-precision navigation, to future applications in the Internet of Things. Quantum sensors use similar technologies as quantum computers and networks: they detect the tiniest disturbances because they are based on e.g., single electrons, the smallest possible charges and magnets. Quantum metrology uses quantum sensors to define the standards for e.g. time-keeping or electrical measurements.
Quantum computers will make enormous computing power available to solve certain problem classes. They are built from “quantum bits” (individual atoms, ions, photons or quantum electronic circuits) and exploit superposition and entanglement, to solve problems we could never solve otherwise. That includes, for example, processing vast amounts of data faster than ever before to search databases, solve equations, and recognise patterns. They may even have the potential to train artificial intelligence systems, e.g. for digital assistants that help doctors to diagnose diseases and suggest the most promising therapy, or to optimise the routes of all cars in a city simultaneously to avoid traffic jams and reduce emissions.
QUANTUM BASIC SCIENCE
The area of Basic Science will cover the research and development of basic theories and components, addressing a foundational challenge of relevance for the development of quantum technologies in at least one of the four areas that have been mentioned previously (Quantum Communications, Quantum Simulations, Quantum Sensing and Metrology as well as Quantum Computing) to improve the performance of the components or subsystems targeted in those areas.
La Seconda Rivoluzione Quantistica
La Flagship sulle Tecnologie Quantistiche punta a collocare l’Europa in prima linea nella seconda rivoluzione quantistica, portando progressi rivoluzionari alla scienza, all’industria e alla società.
La cosiddetta prima rivoluzione quantistica, che ha permesso agli scienziati di comprendere e utilizzare gli effetti quantistici, è iniziata nei primi anni del XX secolo e ha portato sul mercato molti dispositivi, come transistor e microprocessori, scanner di imaging medicale e laser.
La seconda rivoluzione quantistica è iniziata all’inizio del XXI secolo. Ora gli scienziati possono manipolare e percepire le singole particelle, misurandone e sfruttandone le proprietà. Ciò ha portato ad uno sviluppo significativo delle tecnologie quantistiche e a progressi tecnologici nel campo dell’informatica, della sensoristica, delle simulazioni, della crittografia e delle telecomunicazioni.
L’Europa ha una lunga tradizione di eccellenza nella ricerca quantistica e per mantenere la sua posizione di rilievo a livello mondiale é neccessario sviluppare una solida base industriale.
Iniziative ambiziose in tecnologie quantistiche sono già in corso in diversi paesi dell’UE, con l’obiettivo di sviluppare applicazioni commerciali e portarle sul mercato. Sono necessari, quindi, sforzi coordinati tra ricerca e industria.
Dal 1998, il programma FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) della Commissione europea ha fornito circa 550 milioni di euro di finanziamenti per la ricerca quantistica in Europa. Essendo un programma condiviso a livello europeo, sostenuto da tutti gli Stati membri, la Quantum Technology Flagship, basandosi sui precedenti sforzi di finanziamento europei, permetterà all’Europa di adeguarsi alla ricerca e allo sviluppo dei suoi concorrenti mondiali.