Australia leading the world in quantum technologies and innovation

A gathering of top international scientists underway on the Gold Coast has heard that just as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other familiar technologies have come from fundamental research in quantum physics, the future of innovation will be determined by Australian advances in quantum engineering.

Professor Gerard Milburn, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS), said that the Centre’s unique collaborative activities in the areas of quantum control, quantum sensors and measurements, and quantum simulation would position Australia to transform the technology sector in the next decade.

He cited recent work from the Centre promising to radically improve medical imaging (MRI) through experiments in quantum control of nanodiamonds as demonstrating that quantum technology has a surprisingly wide scope of applications.   

Quantum physics is a branch of science concerned with the behaviour of light and matter on the smallest scales. The familiar physical laws we encounter in our everyday experience give way to a host of exotic phenomena. Systems that obey the laws of quantum physics can exist in multiple states at once, or become inextricably linked no matter how far apart they are separated.

EQuS Chief Investigator from the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Michael J. Biercuk portended that these phenomena have the potential to serve as resources in a wide range of new technological applications, much the way modern technology is powered by the flow of electricity.

“The research into exotic quantum phenomena that EQuS is pursuing could one day change the way we diagnose disease or solve problems in agriculture, defence and energy efficiency.”

EQuS research partners supporting the drive towards quantum technologies include global defence and ICT leaders. These partners have realized that translating quantum technologies will require the establishment of a bridge between deep fundamental physics and complex engineering.

A range of international guests expressed excitement over this potential, including invited speakers from the United States and Europe. Professor John Clarke, of UC Berkeley, said that “Australia’s work in engineered quantum systems is world class and will position the country as an innovation leader.”  

Professor Rainer Blatt of the University of Innsbruck, echoed Professor Clarke’s comments, noting that “EQuS is developing the next generation of researchers whose current innovations are gaining the world’s attention”. Speaking of the breadth of quantum research strength in Australia, he said “Quantum computing is only a tiny part of what makes this discipline so exciting.”

This contention is backed by the fact, that since 2011, EQuS researchers have been awarded a collective $103M in major international partnerships.  

The EQuS Annual Workshop brings together researchers from the five participating Australian universities and is focused on building an innovative and entrepreneurial culture among junior students and staff by exposing them to the last year’s major achievements in the Centre. This furthers Australia’s vital science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) agenda.

“Australia is at the cutting edge of quantum engineering. We’re now working to help our students transform this knowledge into new quantum technologies,” said Milburn. “The tech world is about to change and EQuS is a global leader engineering the quantum future.”

Media Inquiries

Associate Professor Michael J. Biercuk, 0413.541.589

Communications and Engagement, Tara Roberson, 0404.516.635

Chief Operations Officer, Lisa Walker, 0413.935.424

About EQuS

At EQuS, we seek to initiate the Quantum Era in the 21st century by engineering designer quantum systems. Through the work of over 80 PhD students and over 70 researchers, we deliver new scientific insights and fundamentally new technical capabilities across a range of disciplines. Impacts of this work will improve the lives of Australians and people all over the world by producing breakthroughs in physics, engineering, chemistry, biology and medicine. Visit to find out more.

Major funding support

Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present.