Computers as we know them have progressed significantly in the last 20 years alone. Tasks previously requiring building-sized hardware can now be solved within seconds by devices held in the palm of our hands. Despite this progress, the world continues to change rapidly, bringing new and unpredictable challenges.
That’s where the future of quantum technology – and L3Harris – comes in.
“Quantum science provides an exponential leap beyond the physical limitations of yesterday’s technology,” said Dr. Jim Drakes, Senior Scientist and acting Project Lead on Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST), L3Harris. “The computers of today are a tangible expression of this transformation in technology. Quantum computing can solve, in seconds, problems like de-encryption and optimization, that would take classical computers centuries to execute.”
Through the advanced technology of quantum science, devices are no longer limited in performance by the constraints of classical components. Rather, quantum technology goes beyond these “classical” limitations as it is based upon the smallest measurable unit and foundational principle of nature.
“We are literally exploiting the unique way that individual matter and energy units, like electrons and photons, interact on a very small scale, and that – along with a great deal of attention to detail – ultimately results in unprecedented performance in real-world devices and systems,” Drakes said.
Legacy and Innovation
L3Harris’ innovation in quantum was sparked when scientists recognized that the company’s existing Acousto-Optics (AO) capabilities – technology that was first developed over 50 years ago – could be used to control quantum operations with extreme precision.
Photons, otherwise known as particles of light, could now be modulated and distributed with sound waves. Advances in this technology resulted in AO cells that support very low noise, drift and cross-talk between quantum bits – key capabilities in the execution of precise quantum operations.
Today, L3Harris is leveraging this legacy in photonics – and its industry-leading commitment to Internal Research and Development (IR&D) – to advance quantum technology in three major areas.
“Our IR&D quantum focus areas include processing, communications and sensing,” Drakes said. “Enhancements across these three areas will provide next-level connected innovations to all of our customers, on land, in the air, at sea, and in space.”
Forward with Quantum: Processing, Communications and Sensing