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Become Entangled in this Year’s FiO + LS Quantum Theme

Michael Duncan, OSA Senior Science Advisor

Quantum technologies, once an imaginative vision of the future, have emerged in recent years as an essential cornerstone of optics and photonics research and investment. In fact, worldwide interest in quantum technologies has grown significantly and multiple nations, including the United States, are investing heavily to fully harness the unique properties and promise of the quantum realm.

In response to this burgeoning global commitment, the 2019 OSA Frontiers in Optics and APS/DLS Laser Science (FiO + LS) conference 15 – 19 September will give special focus to the current innovations and future developments of quantum technologies. As one of the four themes at FiO, quantum will be the sole focus of the Sunday sessions and will carry across the entire conference, making it FiO’s first crosscutting theme.

These sessions will explore a wide range of topics, including quantum computing with atoms and photons, quantum sensing for industry and fundamental physics, and quantum communications. This theme will also include a marketplace summit, as well as a progress update on the U.S. National Quantum Initiative.

Numerous academic, industrial and government laboratories have expanded their programs in the quantum area and substantial progress has been made in bringing these advancements to market. These efforts range from very basic research into quantum phenomena to efforts to develop devices that demonstrate the promised level of enhanced performance.

The power of quantum technology lies in is its ability to harness the unusual properties of the atomic and subatomic world, where the rules of classical physics give way to properties like entanglement, when two particles share an instant and irrevocable bond no matter how far apart they are, and superposition, where a single particle can exist in multiple states at once. These seemingly bizarre properties are expanding the frontiers of sensing, secure communication and computing technologies.

The following are just some of the sessions at FiO + LS covering the current status and future vision of quantum technologies.

On Sunday, FiO will have two sessions on Quantum Sensing for Industry and Fundamental Physics. Quantum properties, like superposition and entanglement, could allow sensors to achieve unprecedented sensitives and stabilities, when compared to similar instruments based on classical physics. These new capabilities are important for advancing critical areas of research in communications, computer science, and space exploration.

Monday will include sessions that cover generally the topic of Quantum Science, which will explore how to develop innovative technologies using quantum principles. Those technologies will help build a solid foundation of quantum science for future application in both science and engineering. This session will cover the theory, generation, measurement, and applications of quantum light states and entangled photons, which are the building blocks of quantum computers and more.

Tuesday’s Visionary Speaker, Jelena Vuckovic of Stanford University, California, U.S.A., will delve more deeply into Optimized (Quantum) Photonics, discussing how state-of-the-art optimization and machine-learning techniques can be combined with high-speed electromagnetic solvers, to create a new approach to “inverse” design that can implement classical and quantum photonic circuits with superior properties.

Two sessions on Wednesday will address high-level investment in quantum technologies: The Dawn of the Quantum Internet, thanks to Plenary Speaker Ronald Hanson of QuTech, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands; and University of Maryland quantum physicist and IonQ founder Christopher Monroe, who will discuss the current status of the U.S. National Quantum Initiative.

Finally, on Thursday Visionary Speaker John Martinis of the University of California Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A., will discuss how to check a quantum computer with a classical supercomputer. This is critical since classical computers may soon run up against the limits of Moore’s law, which will require a new paradigm in technology to continue the rate of change in the computer industry.  

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