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A quantum computer made in Lower Saxony

25 million euros funding for research alliance

PTB News 2.2021
Especially interesting for

IT (cryptography, artificial intelligence)

molecular biology

materials sciences

financial sciences

The new “Quantum Valley Lower Saxony” research alliance has set itself the goal of developing a quantum computer within a period of five years. The German federal state of Lower Saxony and the Volkswagen Foundation are providing 25 million euros of funding for this alliance, which pools excellent research projects and research capabilities in Lower Saxony. This initiative aims to exploit the partners’ potentials for taking a leap in development towards a quantum computer based on ion trap technology.

The centerpiece of a quantum computer is the qubit, which can be in a state of superposition of zero and one – symbolized by Schrödinger’s cat which is famous in physics. (Photo credit: Adobe Stock / Mopic)

A computer that works with the laws and principles of quantum mechanics does not only attract physicists but also numerous users in the most diverse technology fields – from cryptography, molecular biology and materials sciences to the financial markets or the numerous fields of application of artificial intelligence. Quantum computers are expected to be considerably superior to conventional digital computers when it comes to solving specific problems, since they no longer operate with classical bits (i.e. strict values of zero or one) but with quantum bits (qubits), which can be in a state of superposition of zero and one. Interconnecting even a relatively small number of such qubits with one another enables an exponential increase in computing power.

The main challenge resides in the realization of these qubits. Single trapped ions are the basic technology used for this purpose in the Quantum Valley Lower Saxony. These ions are trapped by electrical fields and then controlled by means of radio waves and laser beams. PTB has mastered this ion trap technology [1] and is successfully using a variant of it in its optical atomic clocks. At the same time, trapped ions are deemed one of the most promising approaches for the realization of a quantum computer with a considerable computing power [2].

PTB is working on this quantum computer project together with the Technische Universität Braunschweig and Leibniz University Hannover. Ion trap technology is PTB’s area of expertise. The TU Braunschweig provides the on-chip electronics. Leibniz University Hannover’s main contributions are its expertise when it comes to operating the quantum computer as well as its theoretical groups doing research on the algorithms used and on software optimization.


Piet Schmidt
Institute for Experimental Quantum Metrology (QUEST)
Spokesperson of Quantum Valley Lower Saxony
Phone: +49 531 592-4700
Opens local program for sending emailpiet.schmidt(at)quantummetrology.de

Scientific publications

H. Hahn, G. Zarantonello, A. Bautista-Salvador, M. Wahnschaffe, M. Kohnen, J. Schoebel, P. O. Schmidt, C. Ospelkaus: Multilayer ion trap with three-dimensional microwave circuitry for scalable quantum logic applications. Appl. Phys. B 125, 154 (2019)

[2] G. Zarantonello, H. Hahn, J. Morgner, M. Schulte, A. Bautista-Salvador, R. F. Werner, K. Hammerer, C. Ospelkaus: Robust and resource-efficient microwave near-field entangling 9Be+ gate. Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 260503 (2019)