FAU is poised to become a beacon in quantum resolution

In recognition of our outstanding expertise in quantum research: a consortium of eleven researchers from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) will receive funding of around three million euros by 2025. The new Quantum flagship project Measurement and Control for the Enablement of Quantum Computing and Quantum Sensing (QuMeCo) will stimulate fundamental research in quantum computing, sensing and imaging, combining physics and electrical engineering in novel ways in the field of light and of the material.

“FAU has already established itself well in the field of quantum research through a number of projects ranging from our newly acquired Chair for Applied Quantum Technology, to the latest Humboldt Chair, to the collaborative research center ‘Quantum Cooperativity of Light and Matter”, says President of the FAU, Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger. “The funding granted to the QuMeCo flagship project within the framework of the Bavarian quantum initiative Munich Quantum Valley further underlines our leading position.” Bavarian Science Minister Markus Blume says: “We specifically intend to support interdisciplinary projects involving several universities that can lay the foundations for pioneering innovations in the future. Innovations that exceed the limits of our imagination today, but which will have a positive impact on us and future generations. The innovative topic of quantum technology underlines the visionary nature of the Bavaria High-Tech Agenda presented by the Bavarian Minister-President Dr. Markus Söder. With the Munich Quantum Valley as its epicenter, the state of Bavaria is an internationally recognized leading location for quantum technologies. »

Connecting physics and electrical engineering

QuMeCo brings together FAU’s unique expertise in the field of the physics of light and matter with its expertise in electrical engineering, as evidenced by the project objectives. One of its goals is to lay the foundations for the next generation of superconducting quantum computers. “We are not only concerned with the performance and robustness of the qubits themselves,” explains Professor Dr. Christopher Eichler from the Department of Physics on behalf of the consortium. “We are also developing innovative selection procedures that do not disturb the highly sensitive system, but allow calculation operations to continue even while the measurement results are still being analyzed.” Researchers also hope to optimize quantum control and error correction using machine learning and artificial neural networks.

A particular challenge for quantum computing is posed by electronic control systems. The consortium aims to develop microwave circuits located as close as possible to quantum chips. The active elements require extremely low input power to exclude unwanted interactions with qubits while allowing fast control pulses to be processed in nanoseconds. An innovative laboratory will be created in Erlangen with the aim of characterizing such circuits at extremely low temperatures. Eichler: “With experimental facilities like these, we at FAU will have a decisive influence on the advancement of interdisciplinary research at the interface between electrical engineering and physics.”

The third axis focuses on quantum sensors and imaging. Researchers are experimenting with new quantum light sources and detectors, and using the special characteristics of entangled photons to study new technologies. They also use color centers as highly sensitive quantum sensors to represent electric and magnetic fields and the electrochemical and photochemical reactions of molecules at a whole new level of optical resolution. As a result, researchers can gain insight into otherwise extremely difficult-to-access spectra, for example to better understand the biological processes leading to tumor formation and spread. Another potential application is the optimization of electrolytes or ionic fluids to increase the efficiency and lifetime of battery cells.

A contingent from Erlangen in Munich’s Quantum Valley

Eleven professors from FAU are involved in QuMeCo: Maria Chekhova, Christopher Eichler, Stephan Götzinger, Michael Hartmann, Florian Marquardt, Kai Phillip Schmidt and Joachim von Zanthier representing the field of light and matter from the Department of Physics and Roland Nagy, Martin Vossiek and Robert Weigel of the Department of Electrical Engineering (EEI). The project is integrated into existing research structures: it is closely linked, for example, to the Max Planck Institute for Light Science and the Fraunhofer Institutes for Integrated Circuits (IIS) and Integrated Systems and Devices Technology (IIBS). QuMeCo will also have close ties with the future Center for Applied Quantum Technologies (CAQT) in Erlangen.

The lighthouse project is part of the Munich Quantum Valley, an initiative to promote quantum science and technology in Bavaria, funded by the Free State of Bavaria. Acting as a hub between research, industry, funders and the general public, one of the aims of the initiative is to contribute to the development and operation of competitive quantum computers in Bavaria. Currently, FAU is the only university outside of Munich to be part of the Munich Quantum Valley network.

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