Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Quantum Technologies Flagship: Basel physicists participate in three research consortia


Today, the European Commission launched its flagship initiative on quantum technologies. Three research groups from the Department of Physics at the University of Basel are involved. The aim of the 1 billion euro research and technology funding program is to develop radically new and powerful quantum technologies by exploiting various quantum effects.

Quantum physics describes the behavior of matter at a microscopic level and forms the basis for the great technological revolutions of the last few decades. Without an understanding of quantum physics, computer and communications technology, laser and medical imaging techniques would never have been developed.

On board the quantum flagship: the three Basel physicists Prof. Nicolas Sangouard, Prof. Patrick Maletinsky and Prof. Philipp Treutlein (left to right).

Photo: University of Basel, Christian Flierl

Until now, however, these technologies have not yet exploited the full potential of quantum physics, which allows for radically new phenomena: particles can be in a superposition of several states at the same time, or two distant, “entangled” particles can form such a strong unit that their properties are no longer independent of each other.

On the way to the second quantum revolution

In recent years, physicists have been able to show how they can not only observe these astonishing phenomena but also specifically control them and use them for completely new kinds of technology. These second-generation quantum technologies promise extremely powerful computers, secure communications, quantum simulators for basic research and pharmaceutics, and highly accurate sensors for use in materials science, navigation and medical technology.

Switzerland and other European countries are leading the way in university research on quantum technology. To also be at the forefront of the technology transfer to industry, the European Union has launched the Quantum Technology Flagship, a 1 billion euro funding program over a 10-year period that will give European quantum technology the decisive push towards becoming a market leader. About 140 international consortia of university research groups and industry partners applied for the first three-year funding period, of which only 20 were successful.

Success for Basel quantum physics

Researchers at the University of Basel are heavily involved in three consortia in the area of quantum optics and quantum sensing:

The MACQSIMAL project, co-founded by Professor Philipp Treutlein, is developing quantum sensors based on miniaturized atomic vapor cells. This will enable the realization of compact atomic clocks, gyroscopes, magnetic field sensors, imaging methods for microwave and terahertz fields, and gas detectors.

The technology has application potential in areas such as autonomous navigation, non-invasive medical diagnosis and drug detection. The project is firmly anchored in north-western Switzerland; it is coordinated by the research and technology organization CSEM with centers in Neuchâtel and Muttenz, who closely collaborate with the University of Basel.

The ASTERIQS consortium, which the Basel research group led by Patrick Maletinsky helped to initiate, also deals with sensors. The research alliance looks at the quantum properties of ultra-pure diamonds, which are used as precise measurement systems for quantum sensors.

They can be used to perform high-resolution measurements of magnetic and electric fields or temperatures, all of which the Basel researchers are pursuing, with a focus on applications on the nanometer scale. The innovative technologies will find applications in a broad range of semiconductor electronics, from basic research to medical diagnostics. The Basel spin-off Qnami is also an associate partner of the project, and will focus on the commercial exploitation of its results.

The Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA) project aims to develop a quantum internet that can be used to network quantum computers to powerful clusters, and for secure communication over large distances. The theoretical physicist Professor Nicolas Sangouard is involved in this project. He has already proposed numerous concepts for the realization of quantum networks, in which individual photons transfer information between network nodes.

Result of a long-term strategy

The physicists’ success is the result of a long-term strategy. “For years now, the University of Basel has built a research focus in the area of quantum technologies, which has an excellent international reputation,” explains Treutlein, who is also the Dean of Research in the Faculty of Science. “This is also reflected in the successful acquisition of prestigious externally funded research projects, such as the Quantum Technologies Flagship.” The participating researchers, who belong to the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI), are highly motivated to put their research findings into practice.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Philipp Treutlein, University of Basel, Department of Physics, Tel. +41 61 207 37 66, email:

Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Quantum gas turns supersolid
23.04.2019 | Universität Innsbruck

nachricht Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun
18.04.2019 | University of Warwick

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

Latest News

Marine Skin dives deeper for better monitoring

23.04.2019 | Information Technology

Geomagnetic jerks finally reproduced and explained

23.04.2019 | Earth Sciences

Overlooked molecular machine in cell nucleus may hold key to treating aggressive leukemia

23.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>