By comparison with the picture provided by classical physics, the quantum world is extremely odd. In the latter, physical parameters such as energy or spin in objects like atoms or electrons can only carry certain values or energy states. In other words, these properties are quantized. Light and energy are not continuous quantities, but appear in discrete and tiny packets. The term ‘quantum’ generally refers to the smallest possible unit of energy. During the 20th century, these discoveries transformed our understanding of the world on the smallest scales, initiated a technological revolution that led to transistors and GPS, and forged the basis for modern information technologies.
It is now time to take the next step, and once again a revolution is in prospect. The new Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology (MCQST) wants to be at the forefront of this development. In the coming years, they will seek to gain a deeper understanding of the principles of quantum information in order to put quantum mechanical effects to better use. “The question of applications is what really drives us,” says LMU’s Immanuel Bloch, one of the Coordinators of the new Cluster, together with Rudolf Gross of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Ignacio Cirac of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ). “We want to embark on the quest for Quantum Technologies 2.0.”