Quantum information for fusion power

Quantum information science is poised to revolutionise information technology, with significant impacts in many areas of science and technology. Quantum information science includes general-purpose quantum computation, quantum simulation, quantum sensing and quantum communications. A fifth element is quantum materials, which can enable quantum computing (through physical embodiment of qubits) and which are a frontier of fundamental science in themselves. The USA Department of Energy is exploring quantum information initiatives, and the fusion research community has developed a roadmap for a role for quantum information science applied to fusion power research. Specifically: thermonuclear fusion is a process that involves quantum mechanical tunneling of sub-atomic particles through Coulomb barriers to initiate the fusion process itself mediated by the short-range strong nuclear force.  Despite close to a century of research, no new routes to overcome the Coulomb barrier have been invented apart from the brute force method of surmounting the barrier with kinetic energy.

This project aims to investigate opportunities provided by the emerging field of quantum information science to find new routes to solve this problem, which is fundamentally quantum mechanical in origin. We seek to address opportunities identified in the roadmap which is for “Reconceptualising Classical Plasma Physics Problems for Quantum Computation and to develop concepts and then algorithms to solve important problems in fusion and plasma physics with emerging quantum computers—in the long-term with error correction.” At this early stage we propose to review the literature and to better define the problems that could be addressed with the quantum technologies.  It is possible the scope of possible algorithms for simple simulations could also be developed.

UoM Supervisors

How to apply

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