The precise measurement of physical quantities transcends all of the natural sciences. On the quest for ever higher precision, sensors are now reaching the quantum limit. At this point, quantum science is about to become an integral component of sensor development, providing fundamental new understandings of the presently attainable limits of noise. Quantum technologies provide entirely new ways to overcome classical limits and, using qubits for sensing, push forward to develop new hardware for sensing and metrology.
First glimpses into the vast potential of this upcoming field are about to emerge. Spin qubits in solids have been introduced into nanoscience as a transformative new tool, enabling sensing and imaging of electric and magnetic fields at the atomic scale.
Optical frequency combs have provided the most precise measurements ever made, with applications ranging from timekeeping up to fundamental tests of the standard model. New concepts using entanglement and state squeezing can push precision far beyond what is possible using classical approaches and have already improved gravitational wave detectors.
Superconducting circuits and optomechanical systems have evolved into efficient interconnects between quantum components, and can provide antennas and transducers to virtually every physical quantity. Leveraging this potential by efficiently connecting components to hybrid sensing devices is one of the major challenges for the field.
Applications span all fields of science and technology, including fundamental quantum physics, the study of quantum phase transitions in novel materials, the non-invasive probing of bio-physical systems, geoscience, and radio-astronomy all the way to the search for extra-terrestrial life. The MCQST institutions are uniquely positioned in this field, hosting world-leading groups in every single technique mentioned above. Since applications and architectures are so diverse, this strength will is essential in reaching the research unit's main goals.
Achieving these goals calls for highly transdisciplinary collaboration between theoretical and experimental groups working with quantum and classical optics, nanophotonics, circuit and cavity quantum electrodynamics, and spin physics in condensed matter systems. Moreover, the optimization of sensing protocols requires a microscopic understanding of the noise environment and the implementation of optimal control strategies.