"Quantum" Vs "Classical"

A lot of times on this website, and everywhere people talk about quantum mechanics, the words quantum and classical get used freely. It's important to first understand what these things mean, to begin to understand where the benefit of quantum mechanics can come from. Some of the many other words that are thrown around are states, measurement, entanglement, tunnnelling. You can read about these concepts by clicking on the sidebar to the left. We have included videos which succinctly sum up the concept to the level you need to grasp why the home stands to benefit from quantum technologies.

Classical physics is what you experience every day. It describes almost everything we experience, from the human scale all the way to why the Earth spins around the sun. Simply put, classical physics describes things that are big, or at least bigger than single particles.

Quantum physics on the other hand, is the study of the very very small, things like individual atoms (the building blocks of everything) and electrons. It was noticed in the early twentieth century that the laws of physics, the best description of nature known at that point, failed to explain the results of some experiments. Therefore, new rules, new physics had to be found to describe what was going on: what we now call quantum mechanics.

Why is it that we don't notice quantum mechanics in our everyday lives? The objects we interact with are made up of trillions of atoms. Each atom on its own follows the rules of quantum mechanics. These rules allow for strange behaviours (things we call superposition and entanglement), but they do so with a very low chance of happening. So in a huge collection of atoms, if only one or two out of a trillion act strangely we won't notice them. This part of the website introduces these strange behaviours, click on the sidebar to find out more. That's why classical physics seemed to be the true description of nature for so long, and remains good enough for the calculations needed for most engineering tasks, including building car engines and making aeroplanes fly.

The ideas of superposition and entanglement are just now being understood well enough that we can take advantage of them to build technologies. This website gives you an idea of how these items might start to be used day-to-day, outside the lab, and especially in the home. This website was built as part of a study of domestic quantum technologies. This study forms a document including full references. This is aimed at trained scientists so it's a bit more involved, but you can check out the full report here.