Our vision is to achieve full quantum control of cold and ultracold molecules in order to advance the science of complex quantum systems and underpin new quantum technologies. In realising this vision, we will advance the methods of quantum optics, test new paradigms of quantum information processing and transform our understanding of interacting many-body quantum systems. This ambitious Programme will lead the world in developing molecules as a resource for fundamental science and future technological applications.
Many new applications in quantum science and technology have emerged from the full quantum control of ultracold atoms. Molecules offer even greater possibilities owing to their rich internal structure, controllable long-range dipole-dipole interactions and stronger couplings to electric and microwave fields. However, this complexity also makes the quantum control of molecules more difficult and numerous scientific challenges need to be overcome in order to exploit their full potential. We divide these challenges into six categories according to the technical approach being adopted:
- Advanced Molecular Sources: The application of molecular sources in the solid state, in traps, and in lattices to developing quantum science.
- Interfaces: Controlled coupling of molecules in the solid state to photonic chips.
- Chips: Controlled coupling of gas-phase molecules in microtraps to waveguides on a chip.
- Tweezers: Controlling molecule-molecule interactions and engineering entanglement.
- Lattices: Preparing and detecting the quantum state of molecules in optical lattices.
- Microscope: Detecting and addressing individual molecules in a 2D quantum array and performing prototype quantum simulations.
While these projects have important technological differences (for example, solid versus gas, or 4 K versus 40 nK, or few-body versus many-body) they share the common goal of advancing quantum science through the use of molecules, which is just now becoming possible. From the perspective of theory, many aspects of the quantum science are independent of the specific technological platform, and therefore theory has a very important role to play in elucidating the deeper principles that connect the experiments, as well as helping to steer experiments in the most profitable directions. The other role of theory is to model and understand the physical chemistry of specific molecules so that we have the necessary deep understanding of molecular properties and interactions.