Major research instrumentation initiative

Quantum technologies are a global research focus and an indispensable tool for exploring the underlying phenomena used in imaging research for the scientific development of quantum communication systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has now approved two major instrumentation initiatives to address such applications. As part of its major instrumentation initiative “Quantum Communication Development Environment” (QCDE), it is funding four proposals at the national level. One of the projects receiving this funding is led by Professor Klaus Jöns of the University of Paderborn. The research project “Photonic Quantum Systems Network – PhoQSNET” is funded to the tune of approximately 2 million euros for a period of five years.

The vast majority of approaches in the field of quantum communication to date have been developed using highly specialized laboratory facilities. According to the DFG, the major QCDE instrumentation initiative is intended as a first step towards the standardization of sources, transmission and detection, in order to provide researchers with access to a standardized QCDE allowing research on communication protocols and potential applications. The DFG initiative is a funding tool to support the acquisition of costly major equipment with exceptional and innovative technology, with the aim of solving specific scientific problems.

The objective of the PhoQSNet project is to develop a research infrastructure for quantum communication in a real urban environment. To this end, a three-node quantum network is to be set up between two university buildings on the campus and one on the Heinz-Nixdorf campus in Paderborn. “Our vision is an additive and scalable network that builds on the existing telecommunications infrastructure with nodes that include a standardized and modular toolbox with the components necessary to implement a multitude of quantum communication protocols,” explains Jöns. These components are quantum light sources (single photons, entangled photons and compressed states), modulators (phase, polarization) and detectors (single photon counters, homodyne detectors). The protocols themselves will be the subject of ongoing and future projects at the new Interdisciplinary Institute for Quantum Photonic Systems (PhoQS) in Paderborn. Modules must meet the most stringent requirements to enable complex physical processes: “This means maximizing overall efficiency and minimizing noise. They also have to meet the demands of the real world, ie occupy little space, incur minimal operating costs and demonstrate long-term stability, ”explains Jöns.

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