Dr. William Clark (pictured above) is the Technical Director for Quantum Research and Development at General Dynamics Mission Systems. Read on to discover how he believes quantum technology will transform space communications.
Sometimes it takes looking beyond what is currently possible to discover the next step in the evolution of technology. Harnessing the power of quantum physics for communications and sensing first theorized by Albert Einstein in the 1930s will allow General Dynamics Mission Systems to offer revolutionary real-world applications that could render conventional secure systems obsolete within the next decade.
We interviewed Dr. William Clark, our Technical Director for Quantum Research and Development, about how General Dynamics can play a major role in the exploration of quantum technology and information security.
How would you describe quantum communications and sensing?
Quantum communications uses quantum states of light (single and entangled photons) to prohibit precise replication and allow for a flow of information transmitted from the sender and the receiver that is virtually impossible to hack. Quantum communications and sensing, along with computing and information security, offer new capabilities based on sophisticated quantum 2.0 technologies. Quantum stands to propel us into the next technology revolution, similar to how transistors in the 1940s and the laser in the 1960s contributed to the revolution of electronics and information.
"Through quantum, we are going to usher in a whole new age of science, engineering and exploration of the universe than we can achieve today." - Dr. William Clark, General Dynamics Technical Director for Quantum Research & Development
Quantum 1.0 refers to the first generation of quantum technologies that harnessed quantum tunneling in semiconductors to realize microscopic, ultrafast gates used in all modern electronic devices and the ultra-precise, coherent properties of stimulated emissions used in laser-based devices and processes such as fiber optic links, switches and routers, multimedia devices, manufacturing and surgery.
Quantum 2.0 ushers in a new set of resources and capabilities that make use of individual, entangled and mixed states of quantum particles, such as photons, electrons and atoms, to detect and process on a quantum rather than macroscopic scale. The key difference is quantum 2.0 systems operate in an environment where quantum noise rather than classical noise dominates, allowing us to harness new capabilities and enhanced performance for practical applications.
Thought leaders at General Dynamics discussed the future of communications and quantum technology at Dynamic Connections 2019. Pictured from left to right: Dr. Mark Adcock, Engineering Fellow and Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Dr. Darlene Hart, Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Dr. William Clark, Engineering Fellow & Technical Director for Quantum Research and Development, and Nathan Bales, University Research & Development Engineering Lead.
How is General Dynamics leading the development of quantum communication, security and sensors?
We are currently exploring the use of optical and microwave quantum technologies for communications and sensing – optical for fiber and free-space operation at high altitude and in space and microwave for better all-weather performance, enabling free-space operation on the ground and at low to moderate altitudes. We will then look to demonstrate quantum communications and sensing capabilities in realistic operational environments and finally leverage our investment to pursue customer-funded engineering, development and manufacturing contracts, allowing us to develop and transition quantum products.
Why are quantum technologies so important?
Through quantum, we are going to usher in a whole new age of science, engineering and exploration of the universe than we can achieve today. Quantum will allow us to set up un-hackable communication links while monitoring and reacting to potential security breaches in real time. Quantum also will help detect faint signals from the farthest reaches of space and earliest points of the universe and provide a glimpse at features of objects with thousands of times better resolution than with classical methods.
Want to know more?
Find out what it's like to research quantum physics at General Dynamics in this feature story, click here.
Watch as Manny Mora and Dr. Clark describe the future of quantum technology in the below video.