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Using Microwaves in Quantum Computing

Using Microwaves in Quantum Computing

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Prototype of an ion trap with integrated microwave technology; the close-ups show single beryllium ions as quantum bits in the ion trap . Copyright: LUH/PTB

Research group at Leibniz University Hannover becomes part of the European Quantum Flagship initiative

In the framework of the Quantum Flagship initiative, the European Commission will sponsor projects in the field of quantum technology with one billion euros over the next ten years. The programme aims to establish Europe's leading position in the development of future technologies, such as in quantum communication or quantum simulation. A research project led by Professor Christian Ospelkaus from the Institute of Quantum Optics at Leibniz University Hannover in cooperation with the Institute for Experimental Quantum Metrology at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has now been awarded funding from the Quantum Flagship initiative.

In the MicroQC project, Professor Ospelkaus and his team, as well as partners from universities in Siegen, Sussex, Jerusalem, and Sofia will develop new technologies for the implementation of quantum computers based on trapped ions. The project has been awarded approximately 1.8 million euros of funding over a period of three years.

Overall, 141 projects were submitted for the first funding period, only 20 were approved. "We are delighted that MicroQC is one of the approved projects", says Christian Ospelkaus.

Researchers assume that future quantum computers will be far superior to conventional computers. Conventional bits can only assume one of two values: 0 or 1. To a certain extent, quantum bits (qubits) can assume both values at the same time. In this way, massive amounts of data could be processed simultaneously, which will result in an enormous increase in computing power.

Using single charged atoms (ions) as qubits is a promising approach. "Computer operations" on these atoms are usually carried out by using laser beams. MicroQC aims to realise these operations with microwaves. Advanced microwave technology is already used in devices such as mobile phones. Compared to highly specialised lasers, using microwave technology in quantum computers could reduce error rates.

Note to editors:

For further information, please contact Professor Christian Ospelkaus, Institute of Quantum Optics (Tel. +49 511 762 17644, Email