China advances industrial application of quantum technology

SEP 19, 2021

A participant visits the 2021 Quantum Industry Conference in Hefei, east China's Anhui Province, Sept. 18, 2021. (Xinhua/Du Yu)

With a height of about one meter and weight of less than 100 kg, a miniaturized quantum satellite ground station caught the eyes of audiences at the 2021 Quantum Industry Conference held Saturday in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.

"Such ground station is light and portable, and can be installed within 12 hours, allowing users in remote areas to use quantum communication conveniently," said Zhou Lei, project director of quantum in QuantumCTek Co., Ltd., a leading quantum company based in Anhui.

The company also displayed a quantum key distribution equipment about the same size of a laptop, which can greatly reduce the cost of quantum network building and maintenance.

In recent years, China has achieved a series of breakthroughs in quantum technology, including the world's first quantum satellite, a 2,000-km quantum communication line between Beijing and Shanghai, and the world's first optical quantum computing machine prototype.

"With the active participation of leading enterprises and the guidance of government, an industrial chain that covers the equipment, network, safety and standards of quantum communication has been basically formed in China," said Pan Jianwei, a renowned quantum scientist from the University of Science and Technology of China, at the conference.

Hefei, a hub for China's quantum technology, is home to over 20 quantum technology enterprises and achieved an output value of some 430 million yuan (about 66.5 million U.S. dollars) in 2020.

"The quantum information technology is to be further integrated, convenient and low-cost, allowing more people to have access to it," said Zhou of QuantumCTek.

China Telecom Quantum Technology Co., Ltd. has tried out the quantum encryption calls in 15 provinces since June and has garnered some 10,000 users, said Wang Jian, manager of the research and development department of the company.

"The users can have secure calls and messages encrypted with quantum keys after inserting a SIM card and installing a related app, which can ensure information security," said Wang.

Besides quantum communication, quantum precision measurement and quantum computation have also seen great breakthroughs in industrial applications.

Produced by CIQTEK Co., Ltd., a quantum precision measurement instrument called quantum diamond atomic force microscope can achieve nanoscale high spatial resolution and single spin ultra-high detection sensitivity, which has been applied to study the magnetic and superconducting materials.

"Our products have been used in fields including oil exploration, life sciences and power grids. Since the founding of our company five years ago, the output value has almost doubled every year and the revenue was over 100 million yuan last year," said He Yu, president of CIQTEK, a manufacturer and provider of quantum precision measurement products.

Origin Quantum, a startup focusing on quantum computers and related technologies, launched OriginQ Cloud, a full stack quantum computing service platform on the conference, which can provide quantum computing, simulation training, quantum application development and other services for quantum computing developers and enthusiasts.

"Many of our works are original research, and we are exploring the future commercial model to combine quantum computation with industries including finance, biological medicine and space," said Zhang Hui, general manager of Origin Quantum.

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