It was less than 150 years ago that the first theories of quantum mechanics emerged.
The physical properties and behaviours of atomic and subatomic particles, more than 10,000 times smaller than a speck of dust, captivated some of the most famous scientists of the 20th century.
From Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger – whose experiment, Schrödinger’s cat, has gone on to power many an internet meme – scientists have long theorised about the possibilities of quantum mechanics.
The future of quantum technologies
Fast forward to today and we are starting to see the application of these theories in ways that have the potential to fundamentally change almost every aspect of our lives through what is broadly called quantum technologies.
Quantum sensors can lead the way to more accurate medical diagnosis for many serious conditions, such as anaemia (iron deficiency) and neurological disorders.
Quantum clocks can provide more accurate position and timing information than GPS, which is used in almost all modern devices such as phones and cars.
While quantum computing has the potential to solve problems that cannot be solved using conventional computing, such as designing new medicines and materials or optimising transport and logistics networks.
Breakthrough Victoria recognises the critical part quantum technologies will play in our future and has already made two substantial investments in the sector in Infleqtion and Quantum Brilliance .
This will contribute to the establishment of a sustainable quantum technologies ecosystem in Victoria, drawing upon globally recognised local expertise in multiple fields such as software supporting quantum computing applications and fabrication of bespoke nitrogen-vacancy diamond assemblies.
While Infleqtion is based in Colorado and Quantum Brilliance is headquartered in Canberra, as a result of Breakthrough Victoria’s investment, they are both establishing a substantial presence in Victoria and bringing a wealth of knowledge and networks to the state.
Infleqtion recently announced the establishment of Infleqtion Australia to be located within the Swinburne University of Technology campus in Hawthorn as well as the appointment of Professor Jim Rabeau (ex-CSIRO Director of Quantum Technologies Flagship) as its inaugural President.
Quantum Brilliance is rapidly growing its Victorian team, advancing its plans for manufacturing capability in Clayton and Bundoora, and expanding its existing R&D collaborations with Latrobe University and RMIT.
Building Victoria's quantum technologies ecosystem
It is these types of meaningful contributions that will accelerate the establishment of a sustainable quantum technologies ecosystem in Victoria, generating new opportunities for existing industries in Victoria and creating new industries that will support this ecosystem.
There are large opportunities for adjacent sectors such as advanced manufacturing for optics and novel materials, digital technologies interfacing with the output of quantum computers, or professional services.
The potential economic benefits are substantial. CSIRO estimates the quantum technologies sector alone will be worth $2.2billion per year and create 8,700 jobs in Australia by 2030.
As the sector continues to grow and evolve across the different quantum technology fields, Breakthrough Victoria will seek further complementary and diversified investment opportunities to build capability and capacity in Victoria for what will be one of the most critical technology areas in the next 30 years.
About the author
James Davern is the Director, Digital Technologies at Breakthrough Victoria. Prior to joining Breakthrough Victoria, James worked as an aerospace engineer and manager for over 20 years for both government and industry, and spent five years within the industry engagement and technology transfer team within Swinburne University of Technology.
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