National Quantum Mission (NQM)

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    The Union Cabinet approved the National Quantum Mission (NQM), putting India among the top six leading nations involved in the research and development of quantum technologies.

    About National Quantum Mission (NQM) 

    • Its total cost is Rs.6003.65 crore from 2023-24 to 2030-31.
    • It will mainly work towards strengthening India’s research and development in the quantum arena alongside indigenously building quantum-based (physical qubit) computers which are far more powerful to perform the most complex problems in a highly secure manner.
    • DST will lead this national mission, supported by other departments. 
      • Presently, R&D works in quantum technologies are underway in the US, Canada, France, Finland, China, and Austria.
    • Features 
      • It will entail the development of satellite-based secure communications between a ground station and a receiver located within 3,000 km during the first three years. 
        • For satellite-based communication within Indian cities, NQM will lay communication lines using Quantum Key Distribution over 2,000kms.
        •  For long-distance quantum communication, especially with other countries, tests will be conducted in the coming years.
    • Focus 
      • The mission will focus on developing quantum computers (qubit) with physical qubit capacities ranging between 50 – 1000 qubits developed over the next eight years. 
        • Computers up to 50 physical qubits will be developed over three years, 50 – 100 physical qubits in five years, and computers up to 1000 physical qubits in eight years.
      • It will also support the design and synthesis of quantum materials such as superconductors, novel semiconductor structures, and topological materials for the fabrication of quantum devices. 
      • Single-photon sources/detectors, and entangled photon sources will also be developed for quantum communications, sensing, and metrological applications.
    • Themes: Four Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs) will be set up in top academic and National R&D institutes on the domains – Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices. 
      • The hubs will focus on the generation of new knowledge through basic and applied research as well as promote R&D in areas that are mandated to them.

    Significance 

    • It will have wide-scale applications ranging from healthcare and diagnostics, defence, energy, and data security.”
    • It can take the technology development ecosystem in the country to a globally competitive level. 
    • It will help develop magnetometers with high sensitivity in atomic systems and Atomic Clocks for precision timing, communications, and navigation. 
    • It would greatly benefit communication, health, financial and energy sectors as well as drug design, and space applications. 
    • It will provide a huge boost to National priorities like digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

    Quantum Technology

    •  It is based on the principles of Quantum mechanics developed in the early 20th century to describe nature at the scale of atoms and elementary particles.
    • It is manifested through applications in secure communication, disaster management through better prediction, computing, simulation, chemistry, healthcare, cryptography, and imaging among others. 
    • India is currently at the forefront of tapping the second quantum revolution through massive investments in the field.

    Source: IE