Paderborn University physicist Professor Klaus Jöns has been awarded an ‘ERC Starting Grant’ from the European Research Council (ERC) – one of the most prestigious awards in the field of science in Europe. The ERC is a body of the European Commission for funding leading international research. As part of “Horizon Europe”, the European Union’s research framework programme, the grants aim to encourage and support frontier research in Europe, on the basis of scientific excellence. The highly endowed “Starting Grant” supports particularly promising scientists who are at the beginning of an independent research career.
To help fund his work in the field of quantum physics, the Paderborn scientist will receive approximately €2.5 million over the next five years. Jöns impressed the panel with his ‘LiNQs’ (lithium niobate quantum systems) project, which aims to develop integrated quantum photonic circuits in which photons – small particles of light – are used to process quantum information on a chip. Up until now, various integration platforms with a limited selection of components have been used for this purpose. “None of them, however, have a comprehensive toolbox that combines all functionalities on a single chip,” explains Jöns. The goal of the LiNQs project is therefore to combine all quantum photonics components on a single platform, and thereby demonstrate fully integrated quantum photonic circuits. To this end, the scientist is developing components for the generation, manipulation and analysis of photonic qubits, the elementary units of a quantum computer. Developing all the necessary components and combining them to form scalable systems will give the research community the first complete integration platform for quantum photonics applications. “LiNQs will therefore lay the foundation for Europe to remain at the forefront of a future photonics-driven quantum technology industry,” says Jöns.
At Paderborn University, Jöns heads up the “Hybrid Quantum Photonic Devices” working group, which focuses on the development of novel components for photonic quantum technologies, with a particular focus on quantum communication and computing applications.