India plans mission on quantum technology

India plans mission on quantum technology to get super-secure communication

Atomic series. Abstract concept of atom and quantum waves illustrated with fractal elements. (DH File Photo)

India has begun working on a national mission that may eventually lead to the creation of a super-secure communication network to make online financial transactions hacking-proof besides ensuring full-proof safety of every bit of digital communication.

Such an unconditional level of information security would come from the frontier area of quantum technology that Indian scientists would explore under the planned mission.

“The detailed project report on the national mission on quantum technology and application is being written. The mission will have components on basic research, product development and applications,” Urbasi Sinha, a scientist at Raman Research Institute (RRI) and one of the members of the panel preparing the report, told DH.

While the national mission would come under the Department of Science and Technology, the Isro is on-board and may provide satellites at a later date for experiments, for which the RRI making a payload. The initiative is being catalysed by the principal scientific advisor to the government.

Quantum technology exploits some of the spooky properties of quantum mechanics – such as quantum entanglement, superposition and tunnelling – in developing practical applications like computing and cryptography. In October, Google reported developing a 53 qubit chip (Sycamore) that in 3.20 minutes would finish a task, which a 200 petaflop super-computer would take about 10,000 years.

Such powerful computers put a question mark on the security of commonplace modern communication systems That’s where the proposed Indian mission intends to chip in. With China making rapid progress, one of the focus areas in the proposed Indian mission is quantum cryptography.