Quantum com­pu­ting: Con­sor­ti­um led by Q.ANT recei­ves 50 mil­li­on euros in rese­arch funding 

Pro­ject based on coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween uni­ver­si­ties, app­lied rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons and start-ups // Micha­el Förtsch, CEO of Q.ANT: “This fun­ding is a key enab­ler on the path toward buil­ding quantum com­pu­ters in Germany” 

Stuttgart/Jena/Paderborn, March 1, 2022 – A con­sor­ti­um led by quantum start-up Q.ANT is set to recei­ve some 50 mil­li­on euros in rese­arch fun­ding. Appro­xi­mate­ly 42 mil­li­on euros of this will come from the Ger­man Federal Minis­try of Edu­ca­ti­on and Rese­arch (BMBF), while the con­sor­ti­um part­ners will con­tri­bu­te around 8 mil­li­on euros. The fun­ding will be used to con­struct a demons­tra­ti­on and test system for quantum com­pu­ter chips and other quantum com­pu­ter com­pon­ents. This will enab­le the con­sor­ti­um to con­duct rese­arch into algo­rith­ms and tech­no­lo­gies for pho­to­nic quantum com­pu­ting and pre­pa­re for industrial sca­le-up. Q.ANT, a whol­ly owned sub­si­dia­ry of TRUMPF, recent­ly pre­sen­ted a method that could be used to fab­ri­ca­te extre­me­ly power­ful quantum com­pu­ter chips. By crea­ting high­ly spe­cia­li­zed opti­cal chan­nels on sili­con chips, this pho­to­nic chip pro­cess is able to trans­port, con­trol and moni­tor quan­ta with vir­tual­ly zero loss, even at room tem­pe­ra­tu­re. In future, this will also enab­le the chips to be used in con­ven­tio­nal main­frame computers. 

“Buil­ding quantum com­pu­ters in Germany”

“This fun­ding is a clear indi­ca­ti­on of Germany’s strength as a hot­bed of inno­va­ti­on. We’re on the cusp of the quantum com­pu­ting era, and the glo­bal race to secu­re mar­ket share in this future technology has begun. The funds that have now been ear­mar­ked for this rese­arch alli­an­ce are a key enab­ler on the path toward buil­ding quantum com­pu­ters in Ger­ma­ny,” says Q.ANT CEO Micha­el Förtsch. Known as “Pho­Quant” for short, the rese­arch pro­ject will run for a total of five years. Q.ANT is in char­ge of the industrial side of the con­sor­ti­um, which also inclu­des 14 other Ger­man com­pa­nies, app­lied rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons and universities. 

Quantum com­pu­ter chips and jobs

Cur­r­ent­ly, experts envi­sa­ge that com­pu­ters with quantum chips could be used in sec­tors such as the che­mi­cal indus­try, bio­me­di­ci­ne and mate­ri­als sci­ence. “If we want to achie­ve the goal of Ger­man-made quantum com­pu­ter chips – plus all the jobs that would invol­ve – we need to get top-class rese­ar­chers and com­pa­nies working tog­e­ther. The only way to harness Germany’s exper­ti­se as a major play­er in the world of sci­ence and rese­arch and trans­form it into suc­cess­ful industrial pro­ducts is by fos­te­ring clo­se coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween busi­nes­ses, uni­ver­si­ties and app­lied rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons,” says Förtsch. The pro­ject part­ners hope to pre­sent an initi­al pro­to­ty­pe wit­hin two-and-a-half years, and they aim to pro­du­ce a quantum com­pu­ter chip that can per­form lar­ge-sca­le cal­cu­la­ti­ons wit­hin five years at the latest. 

Basic rese­arch from Germany

The Pader­born site of the Insti­tu­te for Pho­to­nic Quantum Systems (PhoQS) has signi­fi­cant exper­ti­se in the fiel­ds of inte­gra­ted optics and quantum optics, quantum infor­ma­ti­on theo­ry, algo­rith­ms and elec­trical engi­nee­ring. PhoQS will seek to con­so­li­da­te this exper­ti­se in order to imple­ment, con­trol and cha­rac­te­ri­ze lar­ge quantum systems for light-based quantum infor­ma­ti­on pro­ces­sing wit­hin the alli­an­ce. “Over recent years and deca­des, we’ve car­ri­ed out some of the world’s most pionee­ring basic sci­ence work in this area of rese­arch. For the first time, this pro­ject gives us an oppor­tu­ni­ty to put the results of this work into prac­ti­ce through demons­tra­ti­on set-ups,” says Prof. Chris­ti­ne Sil­ber­horn from Pader­born University. 

Put­ting rese­arch into practice

The various part­ners in the con­sor­ti­um bring a ran­ge of dif­fe­rent skills to the table. The task of the uni­ver­si­ties is to deve­lop and con­tri­bu­te an under­stan­ding of the fun­da­men­tal pro­per­ties of quantum beha­vi­or. Mean­while, the app­lied rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons will sup­port efforts to trans­la­te this know­ledge into prac­ti­cal methods. The start-ups in the alli­an­ce will have the job of deve­lo­ping and buil­ding com­pon­ents for quantum com­pu­ter chips. 

The Pho­Quant pro­ject is part of the frame­work pro­gram “Quantum tech­no­lo­gies — from basic rese­arch to mar­ket”, which is finan­ced by the Ger­man Federal Minis­try of Edu­ca­ti­on and Rese­arch (BMBF). One of the orga­niz­a­ti­ons par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the pro­ject is the Jena-based Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tu­te for App­lied Optics and Pre­cisi­on Engi­nee­ring IOF. “Rese­ar­chers in Jena are working on a num­ber of develop­ments wit­hin the scope of this pro­ject, inclu­ding inte­gra­ted opti­cal quantum light sources and low-loss inte­gra­ted opti­cal and fiber-opti­cal inter­fe­ro­me­ters as the basic buil­ding blocks of pho­to­nic quantum com­pu­ters,” says Prof. Andre­as Tün­ner­mann, direc­tor of Fraun­ho­fer IOF. “This requi­res exper­ti­se not only in quantum optics and photonics, but also in hybrid pack­a­ging and inter­con­nec­tion technology. We’ll be injec­ting the­se skills into this high­ly dyna­mic pro­ject and working with all the par­ti­ci­pa­ting com­pa­nies and insti­tu­ti­ons to reach our com­mon goal of crea­ting a power­ful pho­to­nic quantum computer.” 

The rese­arch pro­ject invol­ves a total of 14 partners: 

  • Q.ANT GmbH
  • Pader­born Uni­ver­si­ty (UPB)
  • Uni­ver­si­ty of Münster
  • Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tu­te for App­lied Optics and Pre­cisi­on Engineering
  • Uni­ver­si­ty of Jena
  • Ulm Uni­ver­si­ty
  • HQS Quantum Simu­la­ti­ons GmbH
  • Hum­boldt Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin
  • Fraun­ho­fer Insti­tu­te for Pho­to­nic Microsystems
  • Swa­bi­an Instru­ments GmbH
  • TEM Mess­tech­nik GmbH
  • ficon­TEC Ser­vice GmbH
  • FU Ber­lin
  • Men­lo Systems GmbH