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Delft, Aachen and Jülich join forces to build scalable quantum technologies

20 April 2017 - Quantum science is rapidly evolving towards greater technological maturity throughout the world. To remain at the forefront of this exciting field, collaborations are crucial. Today, the QuTech institute in Delft as well as Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University, both partners of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), have intensified their collaboration through an official agreement. The partners aim to enhance scientific and technical developments in the field of solid-state quantum computing and to conduct joint campaigns within the framework of the EU flagship on quantum technologies, a €1 billion Horizon2020 programme that was launched in Amsterdam in May 2016.

Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich), and Karel Luyben (Rector Magnificus of TU Delft) exchange a handshake.Join forces: TU Delft, RWTH Aachen and Forschungszentrum Jülich
Copyright: TU Delft / Judith de Keijzer

The signed agreement represents a step towards establishing strong collaborations between Europe's key players in solid-state quantum information processing (QIP) and high-performance computing (HPC). The partners will combine their skills and knowledge with respect to understanding and fabricating quantum systems with a large number of controllable and reliable qubits. They will also cooperate in the field of scalable solid-state quantum computing to pool their unique skills concerning scalable quantum information processing, the information technology of the future.

Karel Luyben, Rector Magnificus TU Delf: "It is an important and exciting time for quantum science in Europe, competing with the best groups all over the world. We are proud that Delft operates at the forefront of this high-tech research and we are excited to collaborate with JARA: another key-player in the field."

The rector of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Ernst Schmachtenberg, adds: "RWTH Aachen started its scientific activities in the field of quantum information as early as 2005. Together with Forschungszentrum Jülich, within the JARA Research Alliance, we are now able to attract highly qualified scientists from this research field to our region".

Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, chairman Forschungszentrum Jülich: "Quantum information is a central topic within the research field of information, which has been identified as one of the strategic priorities of Forschungszentrum Jülich. We aim to contribute to its systematic further development. Together with our partners in Aachen and Delft, we are seeking to build on existing expertise in this field."

The building blocks of these future computers are quantum bits (qubits) whose strength lies in their ability to be in two states at the same time: 0 and 1., Classical bits can be only 0 or 1. These superpositions allow for huge calculating power, helping to meet the ever growing demand for calculating power. Multiple qubits can share information due to the quantum principle of entanglement. Quantum systems entangled over distances form the basis of the quantum networks and cloud computing: fundamentally unhackable communication channels.

Both QuTech and JARA excel in the field of quantum science and engineering. QuTech has a history of conducting experimental quantum transport research in multiple promising directions for QIP. The JARA-partners provide one of Europe’s largest HPC facilities and a long tradition of theoretical studies on quantum information science.

Ronald Hanson (Scientific Director QuTech): "Combining the expertise skills and knowledge of these research partners will help to bring quantum information science to even higher levels. We look forward to reaping the benefits of this collaboration in the coming years."

Further major steps are required to scale up the number of qubits on a quantum chip to a quantum system that can outgrow the computation power of the best supercomputers based on classical bits. Therefore, the design and control of quantum chips needs to be taken to the next level. The teams of Prof. Hendrik Bluhm (JARA-Institute Quantum Information in Aachen and Jülich) and Prof. Lieven Vandersypen (QuTech) contribute to the state-of-the-art expertise of semiconductor quantum chips. The teams will further collaborate on superconducting qubit systems (Dr. Leo DiCarlo, QuTech) and hybrid quantum systems (Prof. Stephan van Waasen and Prof. Kristel Michielsen, Jülich). The expertise of Prof. Koen Bertels (QuTech) is focused on the architecture and control of many tens of qubits, foreseeing the system challenges that will arise.

One of the major challenges with respect to scalable quantum information processing is the correction of errors in quantum computations. While quantum information is very error-prone, it is also difficult to correct errors without introducing new errors in quantum systems. Prof. Barbara Terhal, who has links to both Delft and Jülich, will collaborates closely with Dr. Tim Taminiau on the development and implementation of quantum error correction codes.

The foundations of a network based on quantum entanglement have recently been established in Delft, with a ground-breaking experiment by professor Ronald Hanson, and theoretically support from Prof. Stephanie Wehner. Prof. David DiVincenzo (JARA-Institute QI in Aachen and Jülich) who plays an important role in the theoretical development of protocols for useful quantum computations, will further investigate more specific protocols in the promising topic of network-centred quantum computations in collaboration with QuTech.

The signed agreement represents another important step at the forefront of quantum technology. Both QuTech and JARA foresee that this technical agreement will opens the door towards an increase in the number of collaborations between top research centres in Europe to remain at the forefront of quantum information science and technology.

Contact for JARA:

Sabine Prall
Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA)
Tel.: 02461 61 96421
Fax: 02461 61 1816