Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) is a rapidly expanding, multidisciplinary field of research on information storage, processing, and transmission based on principles of quantum mechanics. Once developed, QIST devices and architectures are expected to change our world, disrupting nearly every sector of industry – e.g., artificial intelligence, online security, cryptography, drug development, financial modeling, and weather forecasting. QIST will help us fight disease, invent new materials, and solve health and climate problems.
Quantum information is stored in the form of quantum bits, called qubits, which are processed inside a quantum computer through quantum gates and sent over long distances within a quantum network. If general-purpose quantum computers can be built, they will revolutionize computation, being able to solve certain problems faster than any supercomputers. While the development of quantum computers and networks may require continuing efforts for the next few decades, many technologies, referred to as enabling or bridging technologies (the second column in Fig. 2), do not require full-fledged quantum computers for demonstrating “quantum supremacy,” i.e., quantum advantages over classical computers.
For developing any of these applications, it is fundamentally important to construct quantum platforms and architectures that have robust quantum states. We have to be able to prepare a qubit whose quantum coherence can last for a long enough time for many quantum operations to be performed. Atomic, ionic, and molecular systems have the advantages of long coherence times, and they have been used for a number of proof-of-principle experiments, but they are difficult to scale to a large quantum computer. Quantum materials possess some intrinsically quantum properties, arising from many-body interactions, which may provide robust, solid-state qubit systems.