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16.02.2023Quantum Internet

Next step in partnership towards a European quantum network

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QuTech to provide quantum internet node to Fraunhofer ILT

Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and QuTech have taken a next step in their close partnership to progress European innovation in quantum communication and information networks. As part of a joint mission to develop and deploy a multinational quantum network in the EU, QuTech will provide Fraunhofer ILT with a fully functional quantum internet node for the installation of a first German quantum link.

This effort represents the latest milestone in the intensified collaboration between Fraunhofer ILT and QuTech – a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO – which was formalised under a memorandum of understanding a little over a year ago. The two parties have united forces through a long-term strategic partnership with a joint mission to unlock the full potential of distributed quantum computing in the EU. The long-term goal of this partnership is the realisation of a European quantum internet. A network connecting quantum computers across Europe which send and receive information using quantum bits (qubits). This quantum internet will provide a safer, more secure digital communication and data environment, significantly increase computing power, and catalyse digital innovations in Europe.

Progress through partnership

QuTech specialises in, among others, developing full-stack hardware and software technologies for quantum internet. Fraunhofer ILT is a leading institution in the field of lasers and optics providing photonic solutions, among others to enable quantum technologies. By combining their respective strengths through intensive collaboration, QuTech and Fraunhofer are able to effectively provide coordinated contributions in the areas of quantum communication and quantum information networks.

The first fruit of this partnership has resulted in a soon-to-start long-haul experiment for the first Dutch quantum internet-link between Delft and The Hague, coordinated by QuTech. Fraunhofer ILT will be providing their state-of-the-art Quantum Frequency Converter (QFC) technology to supplement QuTech’s full-stack systems.


From left to right: Dr Bernd Jungbluth, Head of Strategic Programme Quantum Technology at Fraunhofer ILT; Dr Kees Ejikel, Director Business Development at QuTech, NL; Dr Rogier Verberk, Market Director Semiconductor Equipment, Quantum Technology, Industrie 4. 0 and Medical of TNO, NL; NRW Minister of Economic Affairs Mona Neubaur; Prof. Constantin Häfner, Director of the Fraunhofer ILT; Jana Ammersbach, Systems Engineer at the Fraunhofer ILT. At the handover of the approval notification for the “N-QUIK” project. A new milestone in quantum technology research, funded by the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIKE)

Launch of the Fraunhofer project

And now the next milestone in that partnership has formally been achieved. QuTech will be delivering a fully functional quantum internet node to Fraunhofer for the “N-QUIK” project to install the first German quantum node in Aachen. This quantum link will expand on the Dutch link, by serving as an extension and testbed, and a steppingstone for a European approach to an entanglement-based quantum internet. On February 13th, Prof. Constantin Häfner, Director of Fraunhofer ILT formally received the subsidy from the NRW Minister for Economic Affairs Mona Neubaur to launch the project.

Although early days, this next step in the QuTech-Fraunhofer partnership brings us a small step closer to a European quantum network.

There’s power in great partnerships.

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Artistic impression of the Kitaev chain in two coupled quantum dots (white with black arrows) wherein the larger green arrows represent the Majorana part of the system and the small white dots with arrows represent the electrons and their spin. Artist: Bar Dvir.

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