IQOQI Innsbruck/Harald Ritsch

Innsbruck Physics will be funded with up to 5 million euros over the next three years for research into future quantum technologies. Scientists at the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences are collaborating in five international consortia for the development of quantum computers, quantum simulators, optical clocks and a future quantum Internet.

As part of the EU flagship programme for quantum technologies, one billion euros will be invested in the development of quantum technologies over the next ten years. The European Commission has now approved a first wave of projects. Research groups at the University of Innsbruck and at the Innsbruck Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) will work together with international partners and industry to advance the development of quantum technologies. Rector Tilmann Märk from the University of Innsbruck and ÖAW-President Anton Zeilinger welcome this international success of the physics institutes in Innsbruck and see it as a great recognition of the consistent development and support of this research area at the University of Innsbruck and the ÖAW in recent years.

The research group led by Rainer Blatt and Thomas Monz is already working very successfully on the construction of a universal quantum computer based on captured ions. Coordinated by the Innsbruck physicists, an industrial quantum computer is being developed with EU funds that can solve certain tasks better than classical supercomputers. Ion trap technology offers excellent control over the quantum bits and the researchers now want to extend this control to up to 50 quantum bits, which can then be linked together in modules. In this way, the large number of quantum bits required for a universal quantum computer can be achieved.

Another European research consortium is working on the development of a programmable quantum simulator based on atoms trapped in an optical lattice, as well as on ion trap technology. A quantum simulator makes it possible to simulate phenomena in a quantum system where conventional computers fail due to the complexity of the problem. This is of particular interest for basic research, materials science and chemistry. Teams led by Innsbruck researchers Peter Zoller, Wolfgang Lechner and Christian Roos are involved in this project.

A research consortium, in which teams led by Tracy Northup and Ben Lanyon are participating, will work with university research teams in eight European countries to set up a first quantum processor network, thus laying the foundation for a future quantum Internet. The quantum repeater technology will be further developed to transport quantum bits over long distances and the first software products will be programmed to utilize the quantum Internet of the future.

The group led by experimental physicist Gregor Weihs is also involved in the development of components for quantum communication systems. The exchange of quantum keys allows in particular the secure encryption of messages by means of quantum cryptography. The Innsbruck group develops sources for single photons and entangled photon pairs based on semiconductor nanostructures.

The team headed by quantum optician Helmut Ritsch is involved in a consortium to build a European network for active optical laser clocks. This new generation of ultra-stable laser-based clocks surpasses the accuracy of today's passive atomic clocks many times over and is of great interest for applications in telecommunications, geology, earth observation, astronomy and other fields.

About the Quantum Flagship

The Quantum Flagship was launched in 2018 as one of the largest and most ambitious research initiatives of the European Union. With a budget of €1 billion over 10 years, the flagship brings together research institutions, academia, industry, enterprises, and policy makers, in a joint and collaborative initiative on an unprecedented scale. The main objective of the Flagship is to consolidate and expand European scientific leadership and excellence in this research area as well as to transfer quantum physics research from the lab to the market by means of commercial applications and disruptive technologies. With over 5000 researchers from academia and industry involved in this initiative throughout its lifetime, it aims to create the next generation of disruptive technologies that will impact Europe’s society, placing the region as a worldwide knowledge-based industry and technological leader in this field.