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Successful Research in Quantum Physics: Large-Scale Project at LUH and PTB Extended

Successful Research in Quantum Physics: Large-Scale Project at LUH and PTB Extended

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The collaborative research centre DQ-mat, which focuses on fundamental research in quantum physics, has been granted approximately 9.2 million euros of funding until 2024

Over the next four years, the German Research Foundation (DFG) will provide additional funding for the collaborative research centre 1227 - Designed Quantum States of Matter (DQ-mat) amounting to approximately 9.2 million euros. The DFG senate announced the extension following a meeting on 28 May 2020. "Over the past four years, the DQ-mat team has conducted excellent research. I am delighted about this outcome and would like to thank all those involved for their outstanding commitment. Once again, this decision confirms that Leibniz University Hannover is among the leading universities in the field of quantum optics - both nationally and internationally", illustrates Prof. Volker Epping, President of LUH. In addition to Leibniz University Hannover, PTB in Braunschweig - Germany''s national metrology institute - is involved in the collaborative research centre.

Within the scope of DQ-mat, researchers redefine the limits of conventional physics, entering the impressive world of quantum mechanics and its fascinating properties such as entanglement or superposition, which often contradict our experiences in everyday life. Understanding the principles of quantum effects enabled researches to develop numerous technologies that are now an inherent part of our lives - such as lasers or navigation systems.

Research in understanding and controlling quantum systems comprising single atoms or molecules is quite advanced. DQ-mat researchers now intend to apply this knowledge to larger, interacting systems. "For example, controlling many-body effects will enable us to develop quantum sensors - including atomic clocks for measuring time or atom interferometers for measuring accelerations - with an accuracy and resolution not feasible to date", explains professor Piet Schmidt, spokesperson of DQ-mat. In addition to solving issues such as generating many-body quantum systems or determining their properties, the researchers aim to look into new levels of fundamental physics such as exploring the possibility of changing universal constants or determining candidates for dark matter.

During the initial funding period, the DQ-mat researchers laid the foundations for their work over the following four years. For example, they tested a new sensor concept with linked light fields while developing a novel cooling procedure simplifying quantum simulators, as well as preparing initial steps for building quantum computers using ions or proving the entanglement of several thousand atoms. In order to gain a better understanding of fundamental physics, these activities will now be continued and applied in new contexts.

By establishing the foeXlab for school pupils, the collaborative research centre aims to fill the gap between actual research and the public perception of quantum physics. "Quantum physics is a highly-relevant topic for the future. However, schools often focus on imparting theoretical knowledge. The foeXlab provides hands-on experiments in the field of interferometry with real quantum states of light. Due to financial constraints, schools cannot afford this kind of equipment", says Schmidt. With considerable success, the foeXlab was established within the framework of the project "Bildungsregion Hannover" and includes experiments for school pupils at secondary level II, as well as learning opportunities for teachers or students enrolled in teacher training programmes.

The collaborative research centre "1227: Designed Quantum States of Matter (DQ-mat) - generation, manipulation, and detection for metrological applications and tests of fundamental physics" was launched on 1 July 2016 and has been extended until 31 June 2024. Following the second funding phase, the collaborative research centre may be extended one more time for a further four years.

Note to editors:
For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Piet Schmidt, spokesperson of the collaborative research centre (Tel. +49 531 592 4700, Email piet.schmidt@quest.uni-hannover.de).