Focused-ion beam milling of a nanooptical sample.

InQuoSens - Thuringian Innovation Center for Quantum Optics and Sensing

Focused-ion beam milling of a nanooptical sample.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)
Logos EFRE and EU. Logos EFRE and EU. Image: EFRE, EU and Free State of Thuringia.

InQuoSens brings together excellent and internationally visible research activities of ACP, the Institute for Micro- and Nanotechnologies at the Technical University of Ilmenau (IMN) and the Fraunhofer IOF Institute of Optics and Precision Engineering Jena in the key technologies quantum optics and sensor technology. By means of strategic investments measures and a joint strategy process at both locations, these fields are synergistically developed. InQuoSens coordinates its scientific development with the innovative needs of the Thuringian metrology and communication industry. For example, InQuoSens is currently working on the question of how quantum technologies can be used in autonomous driving or medical diagnostics. Through these activities, InquoSens has developed into an internationally renowned center of scientific excellence which contributes significantly to increase the innovative power of the Thuringian economy.

InQuoSens is supported by the Thuringian State (FKZ 2017 IZN 0012) and the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE) with EUR 3.0 million in 2017-2022, and with further funds for the installment of the following embeded research groups.

InQuoSens Prototyping and Device Characterization Infrastructure

Focused-ion beam milling of a nanooptical sample. Focused-ion beam milling of a nanooptical sample. Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Prototyping: The preparation of micro- and nanostructured optical devices for the integration into quantum optical systems and for the quantum optical characterization requires an elaborate technological processing. Within InQuoSens, nanostructured functionalized surfaces up to atomic membrane systems are considered as particularly promising fields of technology for the realization of efficient quantum optical devices. Therefore, prototyping technologies for these material systems are highly relevant and existing coating and structuring technologies shall be supplemented by missing technology steps.

Imaging quantum detectors: Quantum imaging technologies are an essential part of the InQuoSens technology roadmap. The Thuringian industry has traditionally a strong focus on imaging optical systems. These systems shall be advanced to single-photon sensitive methods and suitable quantum-optical evaluation protocols, e.g. ghost imaging techniques, shall be developed.

Quantum-optical characterization setup for the MIR spectral region: Due to the characteristic molecular-specific optical properties of substances in the mid-infrared spectral region (MIR), sensor systems and imaging techniques in this spectral region have a high potential for research and development especially in the material and life sciences. Up to now, this potential cannot be fully exploited as technological challenges regarding spectroscopic characterization systems in this spectral region and hyperspectral imaging methods have not yet been solved completely. This holds true especially for spectroscopy and imaging on the single-photon level using quantum-mechanical correlations. InQuoSens is dedicated to this problem and will investigate quantum optical sensor and imaging systems in this spectral range.

Correlated photon sources in the UV spectral region: The spatial resolution of imaging sensors is bounded by the Abbe limit and is directly related to the wavelength of the detected photons. For this reason, there have been long standing efforts to scale existing imaging methods to shorter wavelengths. Great progress has been made due to the improved availability of laser sources in the ultraviolet (UV) and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) spectral region. Currently, detection methods that work with very low photon fluxes are of utmost importance, and are addressed within InQuoSens by the development of quantum-optical sensor technologies and imaging methods in the mentioned spectral regions.

ESF and Thurigia ESF and Thurigia Image: ESF and Thurigia

InQuoSens-embedded research groups

Integrated optical waveguide for quantum applications. Integrated optical waveguide for quantum applications. Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

E-PhoQuant - Thuringian Research Group for heterogeneous electronics-photonics integration in quantum-photonic components (since 2021)

The application of quantum physical phenomena will revolutionize the transmission and processing of information with regard to data security. Research in the field of tap-proof encryption using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is pioneering this. The necessary communication technology basics for increasing the key transmission rates are developed within the framework of this research group. Our research goals include increasing the control frequencies of photon sources, reducing the transmission losses of quantum mechanical states and improving the time resolution of detectors. The focus is not only on their miniaturized integration as a basis for acceptance in e.g. mobile systems. As part of the research, a heterogeneous integration solution for the realization of compact quantum optical components and modules and their fabrication on wafer-scale level is to be developed.

ESF and Thurigia ESF and Thurigia Image: ESF and Thurigia
Single-photon source for secure quantum communication. Single-photon source for secure quantum communication. Image: Tobias Vogl, ANU Canberra

FASTPHOTON - Thuringian Research Group for single-photon laser-diodes in quantum communication (since 2020)

Quantum physical phenomena enable novel applications in science and technology that lead to significant improvements in information processing. In particular, quantum communication is already technologically mature for real application scenarios. By means of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), it is possible to drastically increase data security in new digital business fields such as smart grids, personalized medicine or microtransaction banking. Thus, quantum-based, secure communication can become the locational advantage of a data-driven economy. However and so far, many quantum communication scenarios achieve only low electro-optical integration density and key rates in the low kbit range. The overall goal of our research group FastPhoton is to advance quantum communication by focussing on the high-frequency control of photon sources in high-performance opto-electronic components and assemblies. We are targeting applications of optical, quantum-based data communication in fiber optical and and satellite networks. 

ESF and Thurigia ESF and Thurigia Image: ESF and Thurigia
Novel concepts of electrochemical energy storage based on organic materials. Novel concepts of electrochemical energy storage based on organic materials. Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

2D-SENS - Thuringian Research Group for ultrasensitive energy-efficient gas sensors from 2D materials (since 2019)

2D-materials are ideal for nanoscale and quantum sensing applications. Consisting almost completely of surface, they interact strongly with many aspects of the environment. Their strong light-matter interaction also allows for the remote readout of their status with comparable ease. Of interest are materials of the semi-conductiong group of 2D Transition Metal Dichalcogenides (TMDs) like like molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) or tungsten disulphide (WS2). Within the 2D-SENS group, we aim to use the properties specifically for gas sensors and will develop four different types based on the TMDs. These integrated 2D-materials will be used to investigate fundamental aspects of how the environment influences the light-matter-interaction in 2D-materials, regarding fluorescence lifetimes, spectra and valley-excitonic properties.


ESF and Thurigia ESF and Thurigia Image: ESF and Thurigia
Scanning electron microscope inspection. Scanning electron microscope inspection. Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

FOQUOS - Thuringian Research Group for imaging with entangled photons (since 2018)

The aim of FOQUOS is the fundamental investigation of imaging modalities based on the peculiar properties of entangled photons. As a result, application perspectives for quantum imaging schemes and a roadmap for further development will be established. Research is pursued along two complementary lines reflecting the strengths of the project partners in Jena and Ilmenau. First, quantum imaging schemes and the necessary photon sources will be fundamentally examined to identify conceptually new modalities, with a particular focus on making use of photon pairs with different wavelengths. Second, concepts to realize electronic components suited to implement and integrate the needed photon detection and analysis schemes will be developed. The detection of both photons should be done in real time if possible. For this purpose, ceramic-based circuit boards (LTCC) are being implemented at the IMN MacroNano® to meet these requirements. The advantage is in the realization of very short connection paths of the individual components, which enables a fast signal processing. The combination with thin-film glasses is studied to increase the degree of integration and to verify the implementation of optical components. The results of both research lines will be used to realize first demonstrators of quantum imaging schemes.


ESF and Thurigia ESF and Thurigia Image: ESF and Thurigia



Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann Image: Anne Günther (University of Jena)

Prof. Dr. Andreas TÜNNERMANN

Institute of Applied Physics, Jena
Phone: +49 3641-9-47800

Applied Optics

Jens Müller Jens Müller Image: Private

Prof. Dr. Jens MÜLLER

Institute for Micro- and Nanotechnologies, Ilmenau
Phone: +49 3677-69-2606

Thomas PERTSCH Thomas PERTSCH Image: Private

Prof. Dr. Thomas PERTSCH

Institute of Applied Physics, Jena
Phone: +49 3641-9-47560

Nano & Quantum Optics



Junior Group Leader Optics in 2D-Materials
Team leader FASTPHOTON Research Group
Phone: +49 3641-9-47990

Optics in 2D-Materials

Dr. Frank Setzpfandt Dr. Frank Setzpfandt Image: Private


Chief Executive Officer
Junior Group Leader Quantum Optics
Team leader FOQOUS Research Group
Phone:  +49 3641-9-47569

Quantum Optics

Dr. Maria Illing / TU Ilmenau. Dr. Maria Illing / TU Ilmenau. Image: TU Ilmenau


Innovation Officer, Ilmenau
Phone:  +49 3677-69-3402

Andrea Knauer Andrea Knauer Image: Private

Dr. Andrea KNAUER

Technology Officer, Ilmenau
Phone:  +49 3677-69-3404

Christian Kroppka Christian Kroppka Image: Private

Christian KROPPKA

Laboratory Technician, Ilmenau
Phone:  +49 3677-69-3325

Michael Steinert Michael Steinert Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)


Technology Officer, Jena
Phone:  +49 3641-9-47564