Quantum Optical Components

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Laser-based processing methods can generate structures and build component groups used in the field of integrated quantum photonics, for example, for quantum computers, internet or metrology.

Compared to mechanical or lithographic processes, laser radiation has the benefit of flexible and fast processing without contacting the workpiece. In addition, it can selectively process the surfaces or the material volume of various materials – such as diamond, silicon carbide, gallium arsenide or lithium niobate – at a spatial precision of less than one micrometer. 

Infrared light in a laser-induced waveguide.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Infrared light in a laser-induced waveguide.
Measurement of beam guiding properties of manufactured integrated waveguides.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Measurement of beam guiding properties of manufactured integrated waveguides.
Controlled guidance of green light in a waveguide fabricated using laser processes.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Controlled guidance of green light in a waveguide fabricated using laser processes.

Fraunhofer ILT is developing technologies that make it possible to couple qubits photonically. For this, microscopically dimensioned interconnecting structures between the qubits have to be generated. Communication can take place via waveguiding structures integrated into semiconductors by means of local refractive index changes using ultrafast laser radiation. In addition to realizing targeted communication, this also allows for better collection of light emitted from qubits.

One focal point of Fraunhofer ILT’s research is developing surface and integrated structures based on lithium niobate for quantum optical circuits, so-called quantum gates for quantum computers. Elementary components are waveguides with structure sizes of a few micrometers. By using ultrafast laser radiation, the institute can generate corresponding individualized structures directly and at high precision. For optimized photon guidance properties, the surface roughness, in particular, is minimized so that the scattering effects play a negligible role in guiding visible or infrared light and costly post-processing steps can be eliminated.

In addition to micro and nano structuring with ultrafast lasers, selective laser-induced etching (SLE) is used to develop components such as waveguides, gratings, couplers and filters for new applications based on quantum technology.

Selected Research Projects


Laser Generated Three Dimensional Photonic Components


Ion Quantum Processor with HPC Connection


Quantum computer with stored ions for applications


Highly integrated PIC-based ECDLs for quantum technology


Quantum Methods for Advanced Imaging Solutions

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources CAPS



Video / December 14, 2021

Fraunhofer and QuTech unite to champion quantum internet

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Dutch research center QuTech unite in the fields of quantum communication and quantum information networks. The partners have now signed a memorandum of understanding and are working closely together on the development of the quantum internet as well as on knowledge transfer.


Video / March 4, 2021

The Next Generation of High-Power Ultrafast Lasers

In the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources CAPS, 13 Fraunhofer Institutes bundle their expertise for the development of laser systems that achieve highest performance with ultrafast laser pulses and explore their application potential.


Video / April 26, 2019

Quantum Technology at Fraunhofer ILT

In the field of quantum technology, we are at the beginning of the technical realization of so far unexploited effects that enable novel applications. The Fraunhofer ILT scientists are developing, among other things, photon sources, photonic components and systems for future applications of quantum technology.


Laser technology can solve demanding tasks in many different industries. Whether as a tool in automotive production, as measuring equipment in the environmental sector, as a diagnostic or therapeutic instrument in medical technology or as a communication medium in space technology, the laser provides multiple uses with high productivity and high efficiency.

Read up about the innovations of the Fraunhofer ILT in a few selected industries and convince yourself!


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