Quantum technology

Quantum technologies are on the threshold from basic research to application-oriented technology development. A deeper understanding of quantum mechanical laws and technological advances now make it possible to master the smallest microscopic systems and to prepare, control and read out individual atoms, ions and photons. Since a key tool for this is the laser, Fraunhofer ILT is at the forefront of quantum technology research and development. Lasers are the ultimate tool for precise processing on the micro- and nanometer scale and for preparing and controlling quantum systems. What's more, photons, which our institute has always worked with, are themselves carriers of quantum information. We contribute our know-how to all relevant future markets of this future technology: quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensor technology and quantum imaging.

Making quantum mechanics versatile

One of the most amazing laws of quantum physics is that elementary particles can assume several states simultaneously by superposition and that two entangled particles always carry exactly complementary information, even when they are spatially separated. Quantum technology can control these phenomena, thus making them usable.

This means that qubits in quantum computers can take on not only the values 0 and 1 but any combination of both values by superimposing them. Each additional qubit doubles the computing power. As a result, these computers are capable of the most demanding computing tasks. Some of them are based directly on photonics, while others rely on lasers as a massless and contactless high-precision tool in component manufacturing. Fraunhofer ILT is involved in development projects on various technological paths towards quantum computing.

Quantum communication uses entangled quanta for absolutely secure data transmission that cannot be manipulated from the outside. This has already been achieved with laser technology from Fraunhofer ILT via a fiber optic network between nodes in The Hague and Delft, in the Netherlands. Another node of this quantum internet is currently being built in Aachen.

Entanglement also opens up new possibilities in imaging, sensor and measurement technology. For example, quantum optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides precise insights into body tissue or ceramics. Photons of different wavelengths are entangled using lasers and non-linear optics. The measurement of one photon is sufficient to know the state of the second. This enables the use of optimal wavelengths for the respective applications. Fraunhofer ILT focuses on these future fields and provides know-how for research and development projects with various industry and research partners.

Virtually noise-free quantum frequency converter

Fraunhofer ILT has developed a virtually noise-free quantum frequency converter based on non-linear optics, which has made a significant contribution to the first exchange of entangled quanta between the cities Den Haag and Delft as part of a cooperation with the Dutch QuTech Cluster. Individual photons transmit the information.

Key components for photonic quantum computers

With the selective laser etching (SLE) process developed at the institute, Fraunhofer ILT introduces micrometer-fine structures into glass bodies that serve as ion traps for photonic quantum computers. In another project, we are developing a Rydberg Tweezer Array for optimal beam distribution in a Rydberg computer. It splits light from four outputs into 2,000 beamlets to provide 2,000 qubits.

Quantum Optical Coherence Tomography (qOCT)

qOCT provides high-precision insights for material development and medical diagnostics. Thanks to entangled photons of different wavelengths, it is possible to measure in wavelength ranges where detection was previously complicated. Lasers and non-linear optics from Fraunhofer ILT generate the photon pairs.

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Contact person Competencies

Bernd Jungbluth

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Dr. rer. nat. Bernd Jungbluth

Group leader NLO and Tunable Lasers

Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstr. 15
52074 Aachen

Phone +49 241 8906-414

Hans-Dieter Hoffmann

Contact Press / Media

Dipl.-Ing. Hans-Dieter Hoffmann

Head of Department Laser and Optical Systems

Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstr. 15
52074 Aachen

Phone +49 241 8906-206

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