National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications

The National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA), also referred to as the National Quantum Mission (NQM), is a government of India initiative launched in 2023. This ambitious mission aims to propel India to the forefront of quantum technology development.

Objectives:

  • Seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial R&D: The mission seeks to foster a robust research ecosystem by funding cutting-edge projects in quantum technologies.
  • Develop a vibrant and innovative ecosystem: It aims to create an environment that encourages collaboration between academia, research institutions, and industry for faster development and commercialization of quantum technologies.
  • Become a global leader in Quantum Technologies: The mission envisions India as a major player in the global race for quantum technology dominance.

Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs):

Four thematic hubs (T-Hubs) will be established at leading academic and research institutions. These hubs will focus on specific areas of quantum technology:

  • Quantum Computing
  • Quantum Communication
  • Quantum Sensors & Metrology
  • Quantum Materials

Quantum Materials and Devices:

The mission recognizes the importance of advanced materials in building robust quantum devices. Key focus areas include:

  • Superconductors: These materials exhibit zero electrical resistance at extremely low temperatures, making them ideal for building quantum circuits.
  • Novel Semiconductor Structures: Developing new semiconductor structures with tailored properties will enhance device performance.
  • Topological Materials: These materials possess unique electronic properties that could revolutionize quantum computing and communication.
  • Single Photon Sources/Detectors: Reliable sources and detectors of single photons are crucial for secure quantum communication and other applications.
  • Entangled Photon Sources: Generating entangled photons, where two photons share a single quantum state, is essential for quantum communication and teleportation.

Quantum Computers:

A major goal of the NM-QTA is to develop quantum computers with significant processing power. Key targets include:

  • Intermediate-scale quantum computers: Building quantum computers with 50-100 qubits (quantum bits) in 5 years and 500-1000 qubits in 8 years.
  • Exploring various platforms: Research will focus on different technologies such as superconducting and photonic qubits to identify the most viable option.

Quantum Computing Applications Lab (QCAL):

This lab will be established to explore the potential applications of quantum computers in various sectors, including:

  • Drug Discovery and Materials Science: Simulating complex molecular interactions for faster drug development and material design.
  • Financial Modeling: Quantum algorithms can optimize complex financial models and risk analysis.
  • Cryptography: Quantum computers can potentially break current encryption methods, necessitating development of quantum-resistant cryptography.
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Optimizing complex logistics networks for efficiency and cost reduction.

Quantum Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST) Program:

This program was initiated even before the NM-QTA to build foundational research capabilities in quantum technologies. It aims to:

  • Support research groups: Provide funding and resources to research groups working on various aspects of quantum technologies.
  • Develop human resources: Train a skilled workforce in quantum science and engineering.
  • Promote international collaboration: Encourage collaboration with leading international research institutions in the field of quantum technologies.

Benefits of NM-QTA:

  • Technological Advancement: India can become a leader in the development of next-generation technologies with immense potential across various sectors.
  • Economic Growth: The mission can spur innovation and create new industries, stimulating economic growth.
  • National Security: Quantum technologies can enhance national security through advancements in cryptography and sensor technology.
  • Scientific Leadership: India can establish itself as a global leader in scientific research and development.

Challenges and the Way Forward:

  • Funding: Sustained funding is crucial for achieving the ambitious goals of the mission.
  • Human Resource Development: Building a skilled workforce in quantum science and engineering is essential.
  • Collaboration: Encouraging collaboration between academia, research institutions, and industry is vital for success.

The National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) is a significant step towards positioning India as a leader in the development of this transformative technology. By fostering research, building infrastructure, and developing a skilled workforce, the mission can unlock immense potential for India’s future.

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