Quantum Technologies use the behaviour of matter and light that is normally only observed at very small scales. This POSTnote introduces recent advances, applications, and UK initiatives to support their development and commercialisation. It also reviews policy concerns such as privacy, access to new technologies and secure communications.Jump to full report >>
Scientists have found ways to exploit the behaviour of matter and light at the level of atoms to create, for example, the technologies that underpin lasers, cameras and computers. Now, our ability to measure and manipulate individual atoms and other particles is leading to a new generation of quantum technologies for timekeeping, imaging, sensing, communications and computing. Some of these technologies are starting to become commercially available, while others are still under development.
Quantum Technologies are leading to new products and services in many areas, such as infrastructure, navigation, medicine and underground mapping. Other applications, currently unforeseen, are also likely to emerge in the future.
There is a global effort to develop and commercialise these technologies. In 2013, the UK Government announced funding of £270m (over five years) to create the National Quantum Technologies Programme. The UK’s quantum technologies community has suggested that the emerging quantum industry could create hundreds or thousands of high value jobs in the UK.
The key points in this briefing are:
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders. They are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank the following interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing:
Authors: Lydia Harriss; Amanda Diez Fernandez
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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.