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20 April 2023: NQM: National Quantum Mission

Context:

The National Quantum Mission (NQM), which was approved by the Union Cabinet, elevated India to the top six countries actively engaged in the study of and development of quantum technology.

NQM: National Quantum Mission

  • From 2023–23 to 2030–31, it will cost a total of Rs. 6003,65 crore.
  • It will primarily focus on advancing India’s research and development in the quantum field and the local construction of quantum-based (physical qubit) computers, which are much more potent and capable of solving the most challenging problems in an extremely secure way.
  • This national mission will be led by DST, with assistance from other departments.
  • Research and development projects in quantum technologies are now being carried out in the US, Canada, France, Finland, China, and Austria.

Features

  • Over the course of the first three years, secure satellite-based communications between a ground station and a receiver located within 3,000 kilometres will need to be developed.
  • NQM will install communication links employing Quantum Key Distribution over a distance of 2,000 kilometres for satellite-based connectivity within Indian cities.
  • Tests will be carried out for long-distance quantum communication, particularly with foreign nations.

Focus
Over the next eight years, the mission will be focused on creating quantum computers (qubits) with physical qubit capabilities ranging from 50 to 1000 qubits.

  • Computers with fewer than 50 physical qubits will be created during a three-year period, followed by those with between 50 and 100 physical qubits and up to 1000 physical qubits over an eight-year period.
  • Additionally, it will aid in the design and synthesis of quantum materials for the creation of quantum devices, including superconductors, fresh semiconductor structures, and topological materials.
  • For use in quantum communications, sensing, and metrological applications, single-photon sources/detectors and entangled photon sources will also be created.
  • Themes: In prestigious universities and national R&D institutions, four Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs) on the topics of Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices will be established.
  • The centres’ main objectives will be to advance R&D in areas that are assigned to them and to generate new knowledge through basic and applied research.

Significance

  • It will have numerous uses in fields including data security, defence, healthcare and diagnostics.
  • It might raise the nation’s technological development ecosystem to a level where it is competitive on a worldwide scale.
  • It will assist in creating atomic clocks for precise time, communication, and navigation as well as magnetometers with high sensitivity in atomic systems.
  • The communication, health, finance, and energy industries, as well as drug development and space applications, would all tremendously benefit.
  • It will give major support to national initiatives including Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Make in India, Stand-up India, Start-up India, and Digital India.

Quantum Engineering

  • It is founded on the concepts of quantum mechanics, a field of study that was created in the early 20th century to explain nature at the scale of atoms and fundamental particles.
  • Applications in secure communication, disaster management through improved prediction, computers, simulation, chemistry, healthcare, cryptography, and imaging are just a few examples of how it manifests itself.
  • India is currently leading the charge in making significant investments in the industry to capitalize on the second quantum revolution.
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