Munich Quantum Valley

Shaping the Quantum Future in Bavaria

On a Mission to Develop and Operate Quantum Computers
Autor: Veronika Früh,

For a few days in the fall, Eichstätt, a small town in Upper Bavaria, is suddenly overrun by quantum scientists—the annual review meeting of Munich Quantum Valley (MQV) is taking place. In this meeting place halfway between the two main centers of MQV, Munich and Erlangen, the multidisciplinary, holistic approach of MQV really comes to life. Here, scientists are given the time and space to get down to the nitty-gritty of what the different sides of a shared problem look like. They also have the opportunity to find the solutions that will bring them closer to taking quantum computing out of the lab and into industry with a unique full-stack approach.

MQV's neutral-atom qubits lab at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics.
Cryostat for superconducting qubits at the Walther Meißner Institute.

Advancing Quantum Computing and Quantum Technologies

Multidisciplinary consortia such as those that make up MQV take a holistic approach to developing all the layers of a quantum computer, from hardware and control to software and applications. On the hardware side, MQV's quantum-computing research encompasses three different platforms—superconducting qubits, neutral-atom qubits, and trapped-ion qubits—each with different characteristics and advantages for different use cases. By bringing together research into different platforms and facilitating lively exchange between working groups, MQV enables the cross-fertilization of ideas. This has mutual benefits when it comes to developing scalable platforms.

Innovations in Qubit Technology

Neutral-Atom Qubits

Neutral atoms trapped in optical lattices are a promising quantum computing platform with the potential to scale to larger numbers of qubits. Qubits are encoded in individually addressable atoms, cooled and trapped in an optical potential generated by crossed laser beams. They can be addressed and coherently manipulated through local laser pulses.

Superconducting Qubits

A platform based on superconducting qubits is a prominent candidate for quantum computers. In this approach, qubits are realized using superconducting circuits. This technology offers fast read-out times and has huge versatility—as different types of qubits with particular properties can be manufactured.

Trapped-Ion Qubits

In this approach, qubits are encoded in individually addressable, cooled ions, trapped in an electrical potential. The main advantage of this platform is the large number of possible computational operations, due to its relatively long decoherence time and short operation times.

The main research effort of developing competitive full-stack quantum computing in Bavaria is complemented by what are known as Lighthouse Projects. In these projects, universities and research institutions, together with industrial partners, are investigating enabling technologies and theoretical foundations in the fields of quantum computing, simulation, communication, sensing, and metrology.

Leveraging Decades of Expertise in Quantum Physics

MQV draws together the extensive experience and outstanding expertise of its founding members across all aspects of quantum science and technology. In recent decades, universities and research institutions in Bavaria have pioneered many developments in this field, creating the ideal conditions to establish a network of excellent quantum research, high-tech industry, and start-ups. MQV builds on these unique strengths and seeks to play a leading role in the industrialization of quantum technologies.

Munich Quantum Valley

MQV leverages decades of experience in quantum science at universities and research institutions in the Munich area and throughout Bavaria. Its primary goal is to develop and operate competitive quantum computers in close cooperation with strong industry partners and visionary start-ups. MQV is funded by the Free State of Bavaria as part of the Hightech Agenda Bavaria.

Munich Quantum Valley

Now is the time to promote the transfer of quantum technology research into applications.
Rudolf Gross, Scientific Director of MQV, and Director of the Walther Meißner Institute of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences

Its members cover many areas of quantum science and technology, from fundamental research to applied science. MQV combines several schools and faculties from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Technical University of Munich; three Max Planck institutes; two members of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, namely the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre and the Walther Meißner Institute; and five Fraunhofer institutes. Together they are working on the common endeavor of building and operating quantum computers.

Hands-on lab courses for high school students at the PhotonLab at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics.
Training courses to reach specialists and managers via the QL3 program run by LMU and TUM.

Educating the Next Generation of Quantum Scientists

MQV supports the training and education of the next generation of quantum experts at different stages. At the university level, it supports a specialized master's program in Quantum Science and Technology (QST)—e.g., through a database for industry internships with Bavarian research institutes and industrial partners to help students establish contacts with quantum technology companies. Master's-level fellowships for outstanding female students, as well as for exchange students in the QST master's program, are intended to support young scientists and to foster a diverse and thriving quantum ecosystem in Bavaria. PhD students can benefit from a highly prestigious Bavaria-wide doctoral fellowship program for exceptional young researchers.

For me there were many reasons to choose Munich for my Ph.D. Not least of
these was the MQV doctoral fellowship.
Anna Rupp, MQV Doctoral Fellow at the Chair of Experimental Physics: Nanophotonics Group at LMU

With the Photon Lab at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, MQV also supports the development of educational opportunities starting at the high-school level. It allows a fairly young audience to get acquainted with quantum technologies and quantum computing. 

In addition, several training and education opportunities for industry professionals are being developed within the MQV ecosystem, in order to create an interface between cutting-edge research and product development.

Doctoral Researchers in QST

Kiran Adhikari, PhD candidate

Adhikari researches distributed quantum networks, also known as the quantum internet. He is investigating new applications as well as protocols for the efficient distribution of quantum information over large networks. His theoretical analyses help justify the enormous effort required to build up a quantum internet.

Xiao-Ting Michelle To, PhD candidate

To's research focuses on "Quantum Algorithmic Skeletons." These are intended to make the complexity of quantum algorithms at the gate level invisible to programmers and thus enable their application to a broader field.

Alexandra Schewski, PhD candidate

Schewski is developing through-silicon vias that are compatible with superconducting qubits. These are superconducting connections from the top to the bottom of a chip. They are needed to place as many qubits as possible on a processor using 3D integration.

Timo Eckstein, PhD candidate

Eckstein researches assembler algorithms. He wants to find out under which conditions a quantum algorithm has advantages over a classical algorithm. He numerically computes new algorithm ideas or improvements for small systems before testing them with classical high-performance hardware and finally quantum hardware for larger scaled quantum systems.

Establishing a Quantum Ecosystem: Bringing Academia and Industry Together

One of MQV's main goals is to create a strong link between academia and industry and to translate excellent research into applications. Within MQV, founders and start-ups can find comprehensive support. Entrepreneurial efforts, driven by the Venture Lab Quantum (VLQ), are a key component of the knowledge transfer from research to quantum technology companies and are crucial to implementing research results in order to establish a competitive Bavarian quantum ecosystem. 

A network of industry partners, most of them working in close collaboration with research groups or involved in Lighthouse Projects, further strengthens and complements the MQV ecosystem in Bavaria and beyond. Regular opportunities for exchange and collaboration, such as the annual meetings in Eichstätt, are an integral part of building and maintaining this network.

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