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Grenoble ready to welcome the new quantum revolution


 On the day of the announcement of the quantum plan by the President of the Republic, French research universities are ready to take up the challenge and accelerate the consolidation of a quantum French Tech alongside research organisations. Focus on the development of quantum technologies in the Grenoble ecosystem.The UGA quantum hub

Since 2017, the "Quantum Engineering Grenoble" program has contributed to consolidating the Grenoble ecosystem for quantum technologies, through the allocation of thesis grants and the installation of Chairs of Excellence on interdisciplinary projects, and the establishment of interface seminars. The actions were initiated and supported by the Idex Université Grenoble Alpes and the European Union (Marie Sklodovska Curie action of the Cofund type). This program was built thanks to the work of structuring the Grenoble site operated upstream by federative actions of excellence (Fondation Nanosciences de Grenoble, Labex LANEF). They stimulate synergy between the University and the major research organisations.

An ecosystem for quantum technologies, from the philosopher to the industrialist

To achieve the second quantum revolution, the University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA) constitutes an interdisciplinary ecosystem radiating from fundamental quantum physics:

  • Theoretical quantum computing appeared at UGA in 2001 and is developing strongly with INRIA. Important results have been obtained in complexity and algorithmic and computational models. Since 2019, the UGA has hosted one of the 4 French institutes for Artificial Intelligence, MIAI, which has given rise to a new dynamic for the site. The synergy between the researchers working on "hardware" developments and the site's IT specialists makes it possible to create algorithms and compilation languages as close as possible to hardware constraints. The energy dimensioning of quantum computers has become the heart of work combining researchers and engineers.
  • The human sciences - While the second quantum revolution has its origins in the philosophical discussions between the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, the emergence of new technologies raises profound societal questions. A philosophy/sociology group is currently on board at the Néel Institute of the CNRS, in close interaction with theoretical physicists keen on the human sciences. This rare experience contributes in an original way to the visibility and attractiveness of Grenoble.
  • Industry - A significant proportion of theses in the "Quantum Engineering Grenoble" program include a 2 to 6 month internship with our industrial partners. For doctoral students, these exchanges contribute both to their integration and to the promotion of their work in the local economic fabric.
UGA is known worldwide for its fundamental research institutes in condensed matter physics, nanosciences, computer science and mathematics as well as for its innovative high-tech companies, from start-ups to multinational groups. Ranked among the top 5 innovative cities in nanotechnology in the world and 1st in Europe, the Métropole de Grenoble welcomes 25,000 academic and industrial researchers and more than 60,000 students. Innovation and the promotion of research constitute the territory's DNA.

In physics and engineering, UGA has already led its first quantum revolution and is at the forefront of nanotechnology with a dense industrial fabric and a strong capacity for innovation. This success was based on the historical and internationally recognized expertise of the Grenoble laboratories of the UGA, the CNRS and the CEA on the quantum properties of matter in the solid state.

A wide range of quantum materials (with strong electronic, magnetic, superconducting, spin chain correlations) is implemented, including 2D and 1D materials such as graphene, and nanowires. Properties and functionalities of quantum nanoelectronics, photonics, spintronics, nano-mechanics are studied and implemented in quantum devices precursors of the supports for quantum information: supra or semiconductor qubits, spin qubits, single photons. This work is based on the simultaneous development of enabling technologies (cryogenics, nano-fabrication, characterization) and theoretical research work. The UGA Quantum Hub is a coherent research body that involves more than 200 researchers and teacher-researchers, as many doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers.

Question to Alexia Auffèves: What is the new quantum revolution?

Beyond the intellectual stimulation it can generate, quantum physics is an exciting theater for studying the complex relationships between fundamental research and applications – and how the two logics inspire and complement each other to give rise to revolutions. technologies. The first quantum revolution was based on the quantification of matter and radiation: from this came the laser, the GPS, the transistor, and subsequently all the objects that populate our information societies (in the forefront of which the computer). Due in particular to energy constraints, our information technologies are now reaching their limits, calling for a paradigm shift.

This change may be brought about by a second quantum revolution. Born from the philosophical questions of the founding fathers of the theory, developed in research laboratories since the 1990s, it exploits counter-intuitive characteristics of the quantum world such as quantum coherence and entanglement, to rebuild a technology where information is processed more efficiently and communicated in a naturally secure way. Deeply interdisciplinary, it is an exciting opportunity to create new synergies between different fields of academic knowledge (physics, computer science, human sciences) and industrial and economic logic. A growing number of states and private companies have already bet on this revolution.

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