Quantum technology - an innovation driver for industry?

06/05/2019 - Workshop »Quantum Technology« at Fraunhofer IAF

Quantum research has made considerable progress in recent years. The first quantum technological systems are already making their way into the industry. To strengthen cooperation between research and industry, the Fraunhofer Institutes IAF, IPM and IWM invited to the industrial workshop »Quantum Technology« on June 4. Through the intensive exchange between science and industry, findings from quantum research should be translated more quickly into marketable technologies.

Over 70 representatives from research and industry participated in the event and exchanged insights, projects and ideas on the topics of quantum sensors, quantum imaging and quantum computing. Both large companies, such as Bosch, IBM and Endress + Hauser, as well as several international start-ups showed great interest in a dialogue with science on the topics of the future.

© Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF

Quantum sensors

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has extensive expertise in the field of quantum research and already makes a significant contribution to the development of quantum technological systems. The three Freiburg Fraunhofer institutes IAF, IPM and IWM have set themselves the goal of bringing the quantum sensors from the laboratory into the applications. The institutes are currently developing quantum magnetometers for industrial applications. These highly sensitive measuring systems are intended to pave the way for a variety of new applications beyond the current technical possibilities in nanoelectronics, medical technology, process analysis and material control. At the same time, the topic of quantum sensors is also being promoted in the industry - several start-ups are working on the development of quantum sensor systems, such as Qnami from Basel or QZabre from Zurich, while large companies like Bosch are also intensively dealing with quantum sensors and quantum computing. Dr. Janine Riedrich-Moeller, who represented the large corporation at the workshop, sees strong cooperation between science and industry as a prerequisite for progress and for the transfer of future-oriented quantum technologies from the laboratory to industry.

Quantum imaging with great potential


Quantum imaging is a new branch of quantum optics that uses quantum effects to image objects at a higher resolution than classical optics. Quantum Imaging also enables spectroscopy to open up areas such as the mid-infrared by means of inexpensive optical components in the near-infrared. »It's a young field of research promising tremendous potential for imaging and spectroscopy,« Dr. Frank Kühnemann from the Fraunhofer IPM.

© Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF

Competing for the quantum computer

Quantum Computing is currently undergoing global competing research. Most major nations invest heavily in the research and development of quantum computers. To ensure data sovereignty in Germany and Europe, it is imperative that European science collaborate with industry on the subject. This is the only way to overcome the challenges inherent in the error-prone system: »We in Europe need to develop our understanding of quantum computing - and that quickly,« Dr. Thomas Soddemann from Fraunhofer SCAI.

The ever increasing data rates currently require the use of supercomputers, which in turn consume extremely much energy. The only way to reduce energy consumption while processing more data is the quantum computer, concluded Ingolf Wittmann of IBM Germany. IBM is considered a pioneer in quantum computing. The company has already developed the first commercially available quantum computer and is currently making it available to over 100,000 users with 20 bits in its Q Network. At the same time, IBM is intensively researching the further development of the system.

Both in research and in industry, there are currently many insights, developments and visions in the field of quantum technologies. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft regards itself as a strong partner in order to develop a comprehensive system solution for future topics and to transfer basic research into industrial applications as quickly as possible. The success of the workshop shows the spirit of optimism in the field of quantum technologies that currently prevails in Germany. At the same time, cooperation between research and industry is essential in order to remain globally competitive and to develop technologies of the highest standard. The format of the industry workshop has convinced the participants and will provide a regular platform for exchange and discussion in the future in order to promote the transfer of innovative research into marketable products.


Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project QMag

The aim of the Fraunhofer consortium »QMag« is to further develop magnetometers and to test them for applications.

Quantum Sensors at Fraunhofer IAF

The developments at Fraunhofer IAF in the field of quantum sensors with diamond thus contribute to the fact that quantum technologies are used by the laboratory.