Quantum Technology — The Business Side
One of the meeting’s three “Visionary Speakers” keynote talks on Wednesday included plenty of interesting science, but also focused on the business and political issues emerging as quantum technology drives toward real applications.
The speaker was OSA Fellow Wilhelm Kaenders (above), the cofounder of TOPTICA Photonics AG, Germany, and he stressed that he intended to provide a “small-company perspective” on what’s happening worldwide in the quantum business arena. Today’s quantum scene is “remarkable from a scientific perspective,” he said, “but is also starting to evolve into some opportunities not only in business, but also in a lot of issues that are linked to more strategic and national interests.”
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Increasing Precision in Measurements by a Factor of 100
James Thompson from JILA, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, gave a visionary talk on the future of using the quantum nature of ensembles of atoms to move to the next stage of precision metrology. He gave a short re-cap of how cold atoms and their quantum states have been used to give us our current precision clocks and talked about the limitations of using single atoms and standard laser cavities for reaching further levels of precision.
He then described how using a laser-cooled ensemble of rubidium atoms prepared in an entangled state could allow their phase noise to be reduced by over 50 times, well below the normal quantum limit for single atoms. In addition, he described how using an ensemble of strontium atoms drastically reduces the noise in a precision laser cavity and can lead to extremely narrow linewidths. Early results in his laboratory point to the potential of using this technique to increase the precision of current time and frequency measurements by a factor of 100.