Virtual Roundtable: Quantum Sensing: Technical Innovation and Societal Resilience

Research event
28 July 2020 — 3:00PM TO 5:00PM

New demands are being placed on developing and improving current sensor technologies, with a view to ensuring greater accuracy, fewer failures and increased security. Without sensor innovation, the promise of technological advance in crucial sectors - including within the national critical national infrastructure - will be severely compromised.

However, the rising significance of sensors is currently not fully recognized by industrial and political decision-makers. The need for sensing innovation is acute and it is crucial that new technologies be developed now, so that sensor applications will be ready to meet security and commercial demands in the future.

Quantum technologies harness the principles of quantum physics which describe the nature and behaviour of matter and energy from the smallest subatomic particle to the way in which the whole universe is changing. Quantum physics is being used to create new technologies that encompass a wide range of different fields including computing, communications, imaging and sensing.

Quantum technologies are undergoing a moment of transformation in which new capabilities are being developed in most major economies. Investment in quantum technologies is moving apace in the race for innovation, patents and market share. With the capability for providing new information about the world, quantum sensors are driving major technological advances and providing enhanced resilience in areas as diverse as secure communications, autonomous transportation, navigation, stealth detection, and brain imaging. Indeed, some economically attractive innovations may not be possible without the contribution of new sensors.

Jointly hosted by Chatham House, the University of Birmingham and BAE Systems, this roundtable will bring together scientists, engineers and policy makers to explore the range of potential impacts of quantum sensing, how best to develop sensors capable of meeting anticipated technological advances, and how to increase awareness and understanding of these new technologies.

This event is the first in a series that Chatham House is hosting on the potential impacts that the quantum revolution will have on international security.

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