National Quantum Mission (NQM)

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The Union Cabinet recently approved the ₹6,003 crore National Quantum Mission (NQM).

About National Quantum Mission (NQM):

  • NQM will fund research and development of quantum computing technology and associated applications.
  • The mission will have defined milestones that are expected to be achieved over the course of eight years (2023-24 to 2030-31).
  • India is the sixth country to have a dedicated quantum mission after the US, Austria, Finland, France and China.
  • Four thematic hubs, or T-Hubs, with a focus on quantum computing, communication, sensing and metrology, and materials and devices will be established in India's leading academic and national R&D institutes.
  • Objectives:
    • Create intermediate-scale quantum computers with 50-1000 qubits in the next eight years.
    • Establish satellite-based secure quantum communications between ground stations within India, as well as with other countries, covering a range of 2000 km.
    • It will look to provide inter-city quantum key distribution over 2000 km.
    • Multi-node quantum network with quantum memories.
    • Help to advance atomic technology with highly sensitive magnetometers and precision atomic clocks that serve communication, navigation, and timing.
    • Aid in designing and synthesising quantum materials, including superconductors, novel semiconductor structures, and topological materials for the fabrication of quantum devices.

What is Quantum Computing?

  • It is an area of computer science focused on the development of technologies based on the principles of quantum theory. 
  • It uses the unique behaviours of quantum physics to solve problems that are too complex for classical computing.
  • Classical computers today employ a stream of electrical impulses (1 and 0) in a binary manner to encode information in bits. This restricts their processing ability compared to quantum computing.
  • Quantum computing uses subatomic particles, such as electrons or photons. Quantum bits, or qubits, allow these particles to exist in more than one state (i.e., 1 and 0) at the same time.
  • Qubits can exploit the interference between their wave-like quantum states to perform calculations that might otherwise take millions of years.

What is Quantum Key Distribution?

  • It is a technology that relies on quantum physics to secure the distribution of symmetric encryption keys.
  • It ensures unconditional data security by virtue of the principles of quantum mechanics, which is not possible with the conventional encryption systems.
  • The conventional cryptosystems used for data-encryption rely on the complexity of mathematical algorithms, whereas the security offered by quantum communication is based on the laws of Physics.
  • It works by sending photons, which are “quantum particles” of light, across optical links.
  • The various QKD protocols are designed to ensure that any attempt by an eavesdropper to observe the transmitted photons will indeed perturb the transmission.


Q1) What is a Magnetometer?

A magnetometer is a device used to measure the magnetic field, particularly with respect to its magnetic strength and orientation. A popular example of a magnetometer would be the compass, which is used to measure the direction of an ambient magnetic field (i.e. in this case, the earth’s magnetic field).

Source: Union Cabinet gives nod for ₹6,003 crore Quantum Mission