France and the CNRS set sights on quantum

Medicine, civil engineering, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, etc. These are the areas that quantum mechanics could revolutionise in the coming years.

Cat-Qubits chip prototype
Cat-Qubits chip prototype

© Hubert RAGUET / Alice&Bob / LPENS / CNRS Images

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The world's most powerful computers and supercomputers may soon be completely overtaken by a new generation of machines with extraordinary computing power, while incredibly accurate and sensitive quantum sensors could also expand the frontiers of what is possible in many different fields.

This emerging technological revolution is based on the laws of quantum mechanics, one of the greatest advances in physics of the 20th century. This theory describes phenomena at the scale of atoms, and allows a particle, atom or molecule to exist in different states simultaneously. France is proud of its historical achievements in this area, with several Nobel Prize and CNRS Gold Medal winners who have made significant advances in the field. This is precisely because France intends to maintain its position among the fierce international competition, that the government is launching a major Quantum Plan aimed at research, training and above all industry. All disciplines are involved in this national effort.

It is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in this mysterious world, where everything happens on an infinitely small scale, through our photo and video reports.

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Four scientists, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel, Paris), Sébastien Balibar (Laboratoire de physique statistique, Paris), Sylvie Vauclair (Laboratoire d'astrophysique de l'observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse), and Thibault Damour (Département d'astrophysique relativiste et de cosmologie, Meudon) sum up the state of physics at the start of the 21st century and some of the challenges that face researchers: to connect the infinitely large and the infinitely small, to measure…

What kind of physics in the 21st century?
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Bruno Grandidier, a researcher with the IEMN (Institut d'électronique, de microélectronique et de nanotechnologies) in Lille, presents the operating principles and uses of the tunnel effect microscope. This microscope is used in the open air to study the surface of a graphite sample. For other materials which oxidize in air, such as silicon, researchers use a more sophisticated microscope which operates in an ultra-vacuum. The tunnel effect microscope also makes it possible to manipulate and…

Atoms at the end of the tunnel (The)

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