Project fact sheet

Quantum Future - Innovative Young Scientists for Future Topics

Quantum technologies are technologies based on the targeted exploitation of quantum effects. Examples are semiconductor technologies, magnetic resonance imaging or lasers. Current developments in the second generation of quantum technologies focus on the controlled quantum state of individual or coupled systems themselves. This opens up possibilities for new applications in information transmission and processing, highly precise and sensitive measurement and imaging methods, or overcoming current limitations in the simulation of complex systems.

Jülich researchers growing a quantum chip in the nanocluster at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Copyright: Research Center Jülich / Sascha Kreklau

Challenging research topics such as quantum technologies require bright minds. The "Quantum Futur" measure is designed to support excellent young scientists in advancing the transition from basic research findings to novel applications through research projects. They are given the opportunity to set up their own independent junior research group and to take up new interdisciplinary research approaches. Thematically, essential areas of second-generation quantum technologies are addressed, in particular quantum communication, quantum sensors and metrology, and quantum computing.

In addition to the implementation of innovative research work, the measure enables the formation of scientific focal points and centers in quantum technology as well as a thematic and personnel complement to the existing research landscape. Therefore, "Quantum Futur" also supports the development of competencies and the networking of young scientists as well as the creation of synergies through the joint use of existing equipment and facilities.

Quantum computing - A revolution in computing

The use of quantum technologies promises great progress in many applications of the information age, as completely new functions are available with the operating principles of quantum mechanics. An exposed example is a completely new class of computers by computing with so-called quantum bits. This means an overcoming of classical data processing and, connected with it, an extreme acceleration of computations e.g. for the fast search in huge amounts of data or the best possible control of traffic systems.

Fabrication and functional principle of a quantum chip based on topological insulators: a) The topological insulator (colored red) has already been selectively deposited. b) So-called Majorana modes (shown as stars) are shifted along the topological traces to enable protected quantum computing operations. (Source: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH)

Important for such quantum computers is the basic technology for the quantum bits. In particular, the robustness of the fragile quantum states as well as the simple possibility of their superposition are of great importance for a usable basic technology.

This is where the present project comes in. The aim is to conduct targeted research into electronic components that can potentially fulfill the above-mentioned requirements well due to special physical properties. The early realization of such components can give Germany an international competitive advantage that is directly linked to an economic benefit. A chip equipped with readout and control electronics can be operated as an export product worldwide in commercially available cryostats and thus function as a quantum computer. Alternatively, German quantum cloud services based on the technology are conceivable.

Robust quantum circuits based on Majorana modes

A superconducting quantum circuit similar to the circuit described in Schmitt et al (see below). The quantum chip is connected via bonding wires to printed circuit boards. Copyright: Research Center Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach

The content of the research project is to explore and demonstrate chip devices for computing with quantum states. The approach is to fabricate particularly robust quantum bits based on Majorana modes from networks of so-called topological insulators and superconducting structures. Topological insulators are materials that are electrically insulating on the inside, but conductive on the outside. Although the principle is very basic and has not yet been verified experimentally, quantum processors based on such topological structures promise a much lower error rate than conventional (non-topological) quantum processors, which would greatly accelerate the realization of functional quantum computers.

The underlying fabrication technology allows complex structural networks to be fabricated via molecular beam epitaxy and under ultra-high vacuum conditions and to be preserved for further fabrication steps (outside the vacuum).

Project funding

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education and is presented here.

The theoretical basis for readout and experimental details were described by Hyart et al. Schüffelgen et al. describe shadow mask technologies as well as transport measurements of topoligical insulators. Schmitt et al. have already been able to demonstrate superconducting qubits using this technology. A press release on the publication can be found here.

A press release on the project can be found here.

The patent for the fabrication process can be found here.

Last Modified: 03.10.2022