Researcher working on a uantum photon source for entangled photon pairs.

Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Center for Quantum Photonics

The first transregional center for quantum photonics at the universities of Jena, Stuttgart and Ulm offers around 50 scientists a cross-disciplinary and cross-location platform for research and exchange.
Researcher working on a uantum photon source for entangled photon pairs.
Image: Fraunhofer IOF
Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Logo
Picture: Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung.

The CZS Center QPhoton is supported by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung with EUR 12 Mio spanning over the three locations, and from 2022 until 2027. For more information, please contact: 

Details, goals and recent activities of the CZS Center QPhoton is shown at: 

https://qphoton.deExternal link

Call for Innovation projects 2024 in Jena, Stuttgart and Ulm

QPhoton Innovation Projects are designed as "seed projects" that work to strengthen the cross-location relationship within the CZS Center QPhoton, address the development of novel, location-independent competencies and, among other goals, create a foundation for further competitiveness in national and international funding schemes. Each QPhoton Innovation Project should lead ideally to joint publications such that a collaborating record for future joint applications can be shown to exist.

Detailed information on the application procedure is given here. External link

The application deadline is now extended to November 15, 2023!

Doctoral students in the nano and quantum optics labs
Image: MPSP

Currently running Innovation projects (2023-2025)

In 2023, and after an internal peer-review process, the following three QPhoton Innovation Projects were launched: 

NV-qubit for precise sensing of rotational and translational mobilities of active proteins

Symbolic picture of an NV-qubit for sensing of rotational and translational mobilities of active proteins
Picture: Börsch research group

Michael Börsch (Jena), Jörg Wrachtrup (Stuttgart), Fedor Jelezko (Ulm) und Anke Krüger (Stuttgart)

Abstract: Active proteins control cellular life. The enzyme FoF1-ATP synthase supplies the energy in the form of the ATP molecule, in bacteria, in plants and animals, and in humans. As a rotary nanomotor, this enzyme converts an electrochemical membrane potential into a high-energy chemical bond in ATP in a highly efficient and rapid manner. This stored energy is then used for cellular processes. The complex random dynamics of the three-step motor function can only be observed under the microscope in a spatiotemporally separated, single enzyme. Quantum sensors such as the NV color center in nanodiamonds can detect three-dimensional motion with the highest precision when suitably attached to active proteins as markers. 

In this CZS Center QPhoton Innovation project, the expertise in the production of NV-doped nanodiamonds and the measurement and analysis methods of NV spin manipulation are combined with a sensitive but rigid coupling chemistry of solids to soft proteins in aqueous solution. The rotary motor of the purified, modified FoF1-ATP synthase thus drives the tethered sensor, and the NV quantum sensor reports on all individual steps of the motor. Twenty years after the first joint preliminary considerations for this project, all experimental requirements are now being met, and the FoF1-ATP synthase (Jena), the coupling chemistry (Stuttgart), the quantum sensor module (Stuttgart) and the NV spin manipulation tools are being used at the three locations (Ulm) prepared for collaborative quantum-based research of single active proteins at work.

Infrared single-photon detection via superconducting nanowires tailored by disorder, temperature, and magnetic field

Heidemarie Schmidt (Jena), Marc Scheffler (Stuttgart), Martin Dressel (Stuttgart), Ciprian Padurariu (Ulm)

Abstract: Ultrafast superconducting single-photon nanowire detectors (SNSPDs) are versatile detectors with possible applications in quantum sensing, imaging, and information processing, e.g. in the telecom wavelength near 1550 nm in the infrared (IR). Unfortunately, SNSPDs are substantially less efficient in the IR than for visible and higher energy photons. In the project “Infrared single-photon detection via superconducting nanowires tailored by disorder, temperature, and magnetic field” groups from ACP Jena (SNSPD fabrication, transport properties), IQST Stuttgart (dynamics of superconductors), and IQST Ulm (microscopic model) will develop novel design rules and operation to enhance the IR sensitivity of SNSPDs. The research question at the heart of the project is: which new phenomena occur in the interplay of single photon absorption and vortex dynamics in a SNSPD with disorder if an external magnetic field is applied?

Illustration of the superconducting nanowire showing the vortex-lattice interacting with the vortex-antivortex pair generated by an incident photon.
Image: Research Group of Prof. Heidemarie Schmidt.

Integrating atomic vapors for quantum optics on the lithium niobate on insulator platform

Sina Saravi (Jena), Tilman Pfau (Stuttgart), Joachim Ankerhold (Ulm)

Abstract: To date, many different technologies and solid-state material platforms for integrated optics have been evaluated for large-scale implementation of optical quantum information processing (QIP). However, all such platforms suffer from the same fundamental shortcoming, namely that single photons hardly interact with each other, and that very strong optical nonlinearities are required to induce all-optical interactions. The nonlinearity in solid-state materials is too weak for this purpose, and even the best state-of-the-art nanostructured nonlinear resonators can barely approach this regime. This is the main reason for the lack of on-demand and reproducible sources of single photons and scalable non-Gaussian states of light based on all-optical approaches, where such sources are highly desired for discrete variable and continuous variable QIP. The goal of this project is to create a hybrid platform for integrated optical QIP that can overcome this fundamental shortcoming. This will be done by utilizing the unique properties of atomic vapors of rubidium, in particular their few-photon nonlinearity, integrated with the nanostructured optical platform of lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI), which is one of the most promising candidates for the realization of integrated optical QIP systems. To create this hybrid platform and to explore its unique capabilities, we will combine the complementary expertise of the universities of Jena (expertise on nanostructured LNOI for integrated optics), Ulm (expertise on description of complex quantum systems), and Stuttgart (expertise on atomic vapors for quantum optics). We will establish the practical and technological foundation for the creation of this new hybrid platform and perform preliminary experimental demonstrations showing that this is a functional quantum optical system. In addition, we want to theoretically study the new possibilities for QIP that can result from such a hybrid platform.

Schematic of atomic vapors surrounding a nanostructured integrated waveguide.
Image: Robert Löw, University of Stuttgart.

Board of Directors

Prof. Tilman Pfau, University of Stuttgart.
Image: University of Stuttgart

Prof. Tilman PFAU

Executive director CZS Center QPhoton
Phone: +49 711 685 68025
www.pi5.uni-stuttgart.deExternal link


Prof. Joachim Ankerhold, University of Ulm.
Image: University of Ulm

Prof. Joachim ANKERHOLD

Co-director CZS Center QPhoton
Phone: +49 731 50-22831 link

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

Prof. Andreas TÜNNERMANN

Co-director CZS Center QPhoton
Phone: +49 3641-9-47800

QPhoton Executive Board

The QPhoton Executive Board meets regularly to decide on the strategic measures of the Center, including funding vor internal high-risk seed projects and appointment of junior research group leaders. The Board consists of the three directors (see above) plus the following faculty:

Prof. Dr. Jens ANDERS
Image: University of Stuttgart

Prof. Jens ANDERS

Director of the Institute for Smart Sensors Stuttgart
Phone: +49 711 685-67250 link

Prof. Dr. Stefanie BARZ
Image: University Stuttgart

Prof. Stefanie BARZ

Director of Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology Stuttgart
Phone: +49 711 685 61556
www.barzgroup.deExternal link

Stefanie GRÄFE
Image: Anne Günther (University of Jena)

Prof. Stefanie GRÄFE

Co-Director of the Abbe Center of Photonics, Jena
Phone: +49 3641-9-48330

Prof. Dr. Christof GEBHARDT
Image: University Ulm

Prof. Christof GEBHARDT

Director of the Institute of Biophysics Ulm
Phone: +49 731 50-23750 link

Jürgen Popp
Image: Private

Prof. Jürgen POPP

Co-Director of the Abbe Center of Photonics, Director of the Leibniz IPHT Jena
Phone: +49 3641-9-48320



Prof. Dr. Fedor JELEZKO
Image: University Ulm

Prof. Fedor JELEZKO 

Director of the Institute of Quantum Optics Ulm
Phone: +49 731/50-23750
www.quantenoptik.deExternal link    

Minister Theresia Bauer (2nd from the right) is handing over the funding cheque to Prof. Dr. Manfred Bischoff (2nd on the left), Prof. Dr. Tilman Pfau (left) und Prof. Dr. Joachim Ankerhold (right). Stuttgart, 2022
Opening ceremony 2022 of the CZS Center QPhoton in Stuttgart/Ulm...
Opening ceremnoy of the national Carl Zeiss Foundation Center for Quantum Photonics. Photo caption: f.l.t.r.: Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee presents the check to Prof. Georg Pohnert und Prof. Andreas Tünnermann.
...and in Jena.