Feature Story | 18-Jan-2024

Photonic quantum computing to become a reality

More than 10 million euros of EU funding for large-scale research project

Universität Paderborn

Scientists from Paderborn University are seeking to work with international partners to develop a photonic quantum computer by the end of 2026. This project, bearing the telling title ‘EPIQUE’ (European Photonic Quantum Computer), is currently one of the most ambitious research projects being conducted in the field of German and European quantum research. The European Commission is providing the consortium, made up of 18 international partners known for their outstanding achievements in the field of quantum technology, with a total of around 10.3 million euros of funding. The project was launched on 1 January.

Photonics: scalability is required to control applications using light

In the EPIQUE project, experts are working to develop a photonic quantum computing platform – essentially light-based hardware for creating a quantum computer. This is based on photonics, or the targeted use and manipulation of light and photons. These are small light particles that emit electromagnetic radiation. There are various benefits to photonic devices, such as low decoherence (i.e. very little loss of quantum properties) and natural connectivity for distributed quantum computing.

‘However, previous accomplishments have often been limited to non-scalable devices’, explains Professor Christine Silberhorn, physicist and spokesperson for the Institute for Photonic Quantum Systems (PhoQS) at Paderborn University. Paderborn’s researchers have already been working to develop scalable methods for quantum system control for the next generation of computers. These enable the sources of individual photons and connections for multiple light particles to be precisely controlled using ultrafast electronics. Scalability is one of the key requirements for quantum computers.

Creating a universal quantum computing platform

The consortium is seeking to take advantage of its Europe-leading role in integrated optical quantum computing platforms. Experts from academia and from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are working together to achieve the technological breakthroughs required to create a universal quantum computing platform, i.e. a platform for a fully programmable quantum computer. One focus of this work is the field of nanofabrication, which seeks to create new types of quick, low-loss switching operations, improved quantum light sources and detectors, new interface options, and directly writable modular chips.

‘EU flagship’

The consortium is headed by Sapienza University in Rome. Researchers from Paderborn University’s ‘Integrated Quantum Optics’ working group are involved in the project. The project forms part of the EU’s Quantum Flagship programme, created in 2018 and one of the largest and most ambitious research initiatives by the European Union. With a budget of at least a billion euros and a run time of ten years, it unites research institutions, universities, industry, companies and political decision-makers within a joint initiative.

For more information about the project, visit: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101135288.

Further information about quantum research at Paderborn University is available at: https://www.uni-paderborn.de/en/topic/quantum-research.



Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.