14. Juli 2022 | A brief overview of quantum technology principles and projects at Fraunhofer IIS
A qubit is the smallest basic processing unit of a quantum computer. It behaves differently than the classical bit used by a conventional computer: while a classical bit can assume only the two states “0” or “1,” a qubit can have infinitely many states and will assume a specific 0 or 1 only when measured.
Another approach to implementing qubits is based on what are known as ion traps. Removing a single electron from an atom leaves behind a positively charged ion, which can then be trapped using electrical fields. This trapped ion can be used as a quantum system.
Ultracold neutral atoms can provide a framework for implementing qubits. There are various methods for forcing qubits to interact, including dipolar coupling and coherent exchange of photons in an optical cavity.
Superconductors are materials capable of conducting electricity at very low temperatures with zero resistance. They provide the basis for another approach to implementing qubits. Superconducting qubits are currently the most commonly used type, and could offer the foundation upon which to achieve a major developmental leap forward in quantum computing.
The term scalable hardware refers to hardware whose performance can be adjusted to meet various requirements. Scalable hardware plays a key role in quantum computing because this field’s dynamic technological development is driving constant change and therefore leading to new requirements.
Superposition means the adding together of different states, for instance in the case of qubits. In other words, their state is not limited to the “0” or “1” pattern of the classical bits in conventional computers.
Interference is the basic term used to describe an event in which two or more waves are in superposition. Quantum interference describes a phenomenon in quantum mechanics that is not limited to waves (as in classical interference), but rather occurs wherever measurements can be made on multiple indistinguishable paths (e.g. the double-slit experiment). So quantum mechanical interference phenomena exhibit properties of both waves and particles.
Quantum entanglement is a quantum mechanical phenomenon in which two particles can no longer be described as individual particles with definite states, but rather only as an overall system. So by examining one particle, it is possible to infer the state of the other, because the first also possesses information about its twin. This phenomenon can be utilized in quantum communication.
Quantum algorithms are algorithms that can be run on a quantum computer. By using qubits in superposition, these algorithms are endowed with properties that differ entirely from those of classical algorithms, such as the capacity to solve multiple problems simultaneously. As part of its research on quantum computing, Fraunhofer IIS is exploring hybrid quantum algorithms that harness the power of both quantum and classical computers. In addition, the institute is researching algorithm development and analysis in the field of machine learning based on quantum computing.
The Munich Quantum Valley (MQV) initiative aims to promote quantum sciences and quantum technologies in Bavaria and is funded by the Bavarian State Government. As a hub connecting research, industry, patrons and the public, MQV aims among other things to promote the development and operation of competitive quantum computers in Bavaria. The MQV’s founding members are the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Max Planck Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, and the Technical University of Munich.
The aims of the Bavarian Competence Center for Quantum Security and Data Science (BayQS) project are to research and develop fundamental concepts and solutions, and to evaluate prototypes in the field of quantum computing. The project is divided into three areas of focus: secure quantum computing programming and platforms; robust quantum computing; and quantum-computing-based (hybrid) optimization. The BayQS project partners are the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC; the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, the Technical University of Munich, and the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre.