Delft, Aachen and Jülich join forces to build scalable quantum technologies

Quantum science is rapidly evolving towards greater technological maturity throughout the world. To remain at the forefront of this exciting field, collaborations are key. Today, institute QuTech in Delft as well as Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University, both partners in the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), have intensified their collaboration through an official agreement. The partners aim to enhance scientific and technical developments in the field of solid state quantum computing and unitise joint activities in the context of the EU Flagship on quantum technologies, a €1 billion H2020 program that was launched in Amsterdam in May 2016.  

The signed agreement is a step towards strong collaborations between two of Europe’s key players in solid-state quantum information processing (QIP) and high performance computing (HPC). The players will combine their skills and knowledge on understanding and fabricating quantum systems with large number of controllable and reliable qubits. The partners will cooperate in the field of scalable solid-state quantum computing to combine their unique skills towards scalable quantum information processing, the information technology of the future.

Professor Karel Luyben (Rector Magnificus TU Delft): ‘It is an important and exciting time for quantum science in Europe, competing with the best groups all over the world. We are proud that Delft operates at the forefront of this high-tech research and we are excited to collaborate with JARA: another key-player in the field.’

The building blocks of these future computers are so-called quantum bits (qubits). The strength of these qubits is that they can be in two states at the same time: 0 ánd 1, where classical bits can be only 0 or 1. These superpositions allow for huge calculating power, meeting the ever growing demand for calculating power. Multiple qubits can strongly share information due to the quantum principle of entanglement. Quantum systems entangled over distances are the basis for the quantum networks and cloud computing: fundamentally unhackable communication channels.

Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg (Rector of RWTH Aachen University): ‘RWTH Aachen started its scientific activities in the field of quantum information as early as 2005. Together with Forschungszentrum Jülich, within the JARA Research Alliance, we are now able to attract highly qualified scientists from this research field to our region.’

Both QuTech and JARA excel in quantum science and engineering. QuTech has a history of experimental quantum transport research in multiple promising directions for QIP. The JARA-partners provide one of Europes largest HPC facilities and a history of theoretical proposals on quantum information science.

Professor Ronald Hanson (Scientific Director QuTech): ‘Combining the expertise skills and knowledge of these research partners will help to bring quantum information science to even higher levels. I am excited to reap the benefits of this collaboration in the coming years.’

Next big steps are needed to scale up the number of qubits on a quantum chip to a quantum system that can outgrow the computation power of the best supercomputers based on classical bits. Therefore, the design and control of quantum chips needs to be brought to the next level. The teams of professor Hendrik Bluhm (JARA-Institute QI in Aachen and Jülich) and professor Lieven Vandersypen (QuTech) contribute to the state-of-the art expertise of semiconductor quantum chips. The teams will further collaborate on superconducting qubit systems (dr. Leo DiCarlo, QuTech) and hybrid quantum systems (professor Stephan van Waasen and professor Kristel Michielsen, Jülich). The expertise of professor Koen Bertels (QuTech) focusses on the architecture and control of many tens of qubits, foreseeing the system challenges that will arise.

Professor Wolfgang Marquardt (Chairman of the board of Forschungszentrum Jülich): ‘Quantum information is a central topic within the research field of information, which has been identified as one of the strategic priorities of Forschungszentrum Jülich. We aim to contribute to its systematic further development. Together with our partners in Aachen and Delft, we are seeking to build on existing expertise in this field.’

One of the major challenges towards scalable quantum information processing is the correction of errors in quantum computations. While quantum information is very error-prone, it is very hard to correct errors without introducing new errors in quantum systems. Professor Barbara Terhal, connected to both Delft and Jülich, will collaborate closely with dr. Tim Taminiau on the development and implementation of quantum error correction codes.

The foundations of a network based on quantum entanglement have recently been laid in Delft, with a ground-breaking experiment by professor Ronald Hanson, theoretically supported by professor Stephanie Wehner. Professor David DiVincenzo (JARA-Institute QI in Aachen and Jülich), playing an important role in the theoretical development of protocols for useful quantum computations will further investigate more specific protocols in the promising topic of network-centred quantum computations in collaboration with QuTech.

The signed agreement is another important step at the forefront of quantum technology. Both QuTech and JARA foresee that this technical agreement opens doors towards increasing the number of collaborations between top research centers in Europe to remain at the forefront of quantum information science and technology.

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