Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications (NM-QTA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quantum Technology

Mains level : NM-QTA

The detailed project report for a National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications (NM-QTA) has been drawn out and finalised.

Q.Discuss various applications of quantum technology for strategic and economic development.

Story so far

  • In last year’s budget session, it was proposed that ₹8,000 crores be set aside to develop quantum science and technology.
  • The detailed project report is now ready and in the next couple of months, this mission might get approval.
  • Recognising the importance of quantum technology, the Department of Science and Technology has also initiated a programme called QuEST to explore the possibilities and engage with the researchers.

About NM-QTA

  • The mission will function under the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • It will be able to address the ever-increasing technological requirements of society and take into account the international technology trends.
  • The mission will help prepare next-generation skilled manpower, boost translational research and also encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development.

Why need such a mission?

  • Quantum technologies are rapidly developing globally with hugely disruptive potential.
  • The range of quantum technologies is expected to be one of the major technology disruptions that will change the entire paradigm of computation, communication and encryption.
  • It is perceived that the countries who achieve an edge in this emerging field will have a greater advantage in garnering multifold economic growth and dominant leadership role.
  • It has become imperative both for government and industries to be prepared to develop these emerging and disruptive changes.
  • It will establish standards to be applied to all research and help stimulate a pipeline to support research and applications well into the future.

Recent applications

  • Recently, DRDO has successfully demonstrated communication between its two labs using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology.
  • In June 2020, China demonstrated quantum communication technology using the satellite Micius, by conducting a secret conference between two ground stations about 1,120 km apart.
  • They used the satellite not to transmit the entire communication, but to simultaneously send a pair of secret keys to the two ground stations.
  • Other potential applications include secure communication, fast computers that established quantum supremacy, sensors and quantum-inspired devices.

Back2Basics: Quantum Technology

  • Quantum Technology is based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level.
  • It concerns the control and manipulation of quantum systems, with the goal of achieving information processing beyond the limits of the classical world.
  • Its principles will be used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computing, communications, sensing, chemistry, cryptography, imaging and mechanics.
  • This key ability makes quantum computers extremely powerful compared to conventional computers when solving certain kinds of problems like finding prime factors of large numbers and searching for large databases.

What is Quantum Mechanics?

  • It is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest – including atomic and subatomic – scales.
  • At the scale of atoms and electrons, many of the equations of classical mechanics, which describe how things move at everyday sizes and speeds, cease to be useful.
  • In classical mechanics, objects exist in a specific place at a specific time.
  • However, in quantum mechanics, objects instead exist in a haze of probability; they have a certain chance of being at point A, another chance of being at point B and so on.
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