2014 National Icon - QuTech
In 2015, QuTech, the research institute for quantum computing and quantum internet, achieved a breakthrough in quantum technology with the ‘Bell test’. Scientists were able to prove that the electrons of two diamonds, separated by 1.3 kilometres of campus, can have an invisible and instantaneous connection.
This represented a major stride in the development of quantum computers.
Quantum computers can be used to analyse huge amounts of data and distil all sorts of connections and patterns from these. Together with other insights, this can lead to various new scientific theories. Potentially, that could be a tremendous scientific revolution. Quantum computers can also be used to test theories using extremely detailed simulations and subsequently further develop these.
In 1935 Albert Einstein posed a very fundamental question about our universe: as predicted by the theory of quantum mechanics, can observing an object, have instantaneous consequences for another object, even if this is at the other end of the Milky Way? Einstein refused to believe that the latter was true, and called it a ‘spooky action at a distance’. However, QuTech's experiment proves that the ‘spooky action’ actually exists. This offers opportunities for new types of secure communication, impossible to eavesdrop.
This revolutionary development did not go unnoticed. The world’s leading semiconductor chip maker Intel has invested $50 million in the company to develop quantum chips. Microsoft has also invested heavily in QuTech company, which is a collaboration between Delft University of Technology (TUD) and TNO.
During its presidency of the EU, the Dutch government has been able to generate interest for quantum technology. The European Commission has recommended providing €1 billion in funding for a large-scale European research programme on quantum technology as part of the FET Flagship programme on Quantum Technologies. Scientist from various disciplines will further develop quantum mechanics and new applications will be marketed.
Together with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Delft University of Technology (TUD), TNO and the High Tech Systems & Materials (HTSM) Top Sector, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has provided public funding for the company to the amount of €146 million.