The aim of the Institute of Quantum Technologies in Ulm is to develop precision instruments for space applications based on quantum technologies and, in close cooperation with industry, to bring them to prototype maturity. It thus provides a bridge between fundamental research and industry. Together with the Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensing in Hannover and the Galileo Competence Center in Oberpfaffenhofen the institute in Ulm plays a pioneering role in these fields of research and application.
Under certain conditions particles like electrons, atoms, or nanoparticles propagate as waves. Similarly to light or water waves, such matter waves can be superimposed. Even smallest perturbations can lead to perceptible changes in the interference fringes of the superimposed matter waves enabling high-sensitive measurements. In contrast to the massless particles of light, the photons, matter is falling in Earth's gravitational field. This feature is for example used in tests of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (GTR).
Besides the superposition and interference of matter waves, another effect is exploited for quantum technologies, namely the entanglement between two particles. If we manipulate one particle, the state of its entangled counterpart is changed – even at large spatial distances. Combined with classical communication channels we thereby can create an information transfer that is extremely secure since every eavesdropping attack changes the result of the measurement and can therefore be detected. The implementation of quantum communication on satellites will immensely increase the security of intercontinental information transmission.
The research of the four core departments Quantum Metrology, Quantum Information and Communication, Quantum Nanophysics, and Quantum Control of Charged Matter Waves is completed and supported by the three cross-sectional departments Quantum Engineering, Integration of Micro- and Nanosystems, and Theoretical Quantum Physics. The institute works in an interdisciplinary way: Fundamental theoretical research and experimental tests meet engineering.