Knowledge Base

Your A-Z guide of simple, bite-sized explainers to help you understand all about quantum 

Before going into the basics of quantum technology, let’s first address the question; what is quantum mechanics—also synonymous with quantum physics?

In a nutshell, quantum mechanics is the physics of the very small. As it turns out, the physics we use to describe the motion of large objects, like a car or a plane, fails to capture the counter-intuitive phenomena that take place at the smallest scale. In addition, quantum mechanics includes a lot of rules that have no analogue in any other theory of physics, which is partly the reason why quantum mechanics is notorious with being mysterious and strange.

A bizarre world

A prominent example of the weirdness of quantum mechanics is the quantisation of physical properties, that is properties can only occur in specific set amounts, quanta (singular: quantum), which lends quantum mechanics its name.

Perhaps the most bizarre of them all is what happens when we observe or measure a system. Specifically, how a look/observation disturbs or changes the reality (state) of the system, implying that what we see is not necessarily what is. This puzzling concept led Einstein to ask the question: is the moon still there when no one is looking at it?

Despite its eccentricity, quantum mechanics is ubiquitous in the world around us and has enabled most of the technological developments, whose outcome you are using to browse this webpage.

What’s the hold up?

While scientists were aware of the peculiarities of quantum mechanics since the beginning of the last century, the full potential of quantum mechanics is far from reached. In large part, because we lacked the technological advancements that would allow us to fabricate small (nanoscale) devices which would enable the harnessing of the mindboggling potential of quantum mechanics. Now, that we can fabricate such devices (the dimensions of current transistors in your smartphone are less than 20 atoms across!), researchers and key industry players are looking into creating quantum computers and quantum networks.

A new paradigm

Quantum computers are predicted to be much more powerful than our current computers and quantum networks promise unprecedented levels of secure communications because they will operate in a fundamentally new way owing to the laws of quantum mechanics. Both quantum computers and a quantum internet are envisioned to revolutionize the world as we know it, igniting far-reaching developments and applications that are likely inconceivable by us today.

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