German Council of Science and Humanities recommends new TUM high-tech institute

Center for Quantum Engineering comes to Garching

Visualization of a future quantum computer with chips made of diamond and graphene - Image: Christoph Hohmann / NIM
Visualization of a future quantum computer with chips made of diamond and graphene - Image: Christoph Hohmann / NIM

Campus news

In recent years, a globally esteemed research focus on quantum technologies has developed on the Garching campus. The German Council of Science and Humanities now supports the creation of a new central institute at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) that will link this focus with the engineering sciences and aims to transfer quantum systems into real-world applications more quickly. Should the Joint Science Conference (GWK) follow this recommendation on 29 June, the German Federal Government and the Free State of Bavaria will share the costs of around 40 million euro equally.

Quantum sciences have long since taken their place in our everyday lives. Modern microelectronics would be unthinkable without the foundations of quantum physics developed by researchers like Max Planck and Albert Einstein. MRI scanners already make use of knowledge about a new generation of quantum phenomena to achieve sharper images, and quantum computers will soon revolutionize data processing.

“Even though quantum physical phenomena already play a role in many everyday applications, the current development of quantum technology 2.0 puts us at the very beginning of the targeted exploitation of a completely new potential,” says Christian Pfleiderer, Professor of Experimental Physics at the Technical University of Munich. “Quantum technologies are a key technology of the future.”

A new Center for QuantumEngineering (ZQE) headed by the professors Christian Pfleiderer (physics) and Holger Boche (electrical and computer engineering) is in the making in the immediate vicinity of the Walter Schottky Institute for Semiconductor Physics, also a collaborative facility of the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Building on the long-standing, very successful preliminary studies of individual TUM working groups, one important goal of the planned center is the swift transfer of research results to applications. An integrated network with industry partners will help facilitate this goal.

Quantum technology – Quantum computers

The new institute will focus on three interdisciplinary research domains: hybrid quantum devices and quantum circuits, functional quantum materials, and complex quantum systems aspects and modeling.

“The research campus Garching is recognized worldwide as a center of quantum research. Through its interdisciplinary program, the ZQE forms an ideal link between the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics. It creates new synergies by pooling forces,” says TUM President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann. According to Herrmann, this shows once again how pioneering the decision to relocate the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to Garching was, and how important it is now to implement it quickly.

The new institute in Garching will also profit from the close ties to the Walter Schottky Institute for Semiconductor Physics and the Walther Meißner Institute for Low Temperature Physics, the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Research Neutron Source and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics. There are strong scientific synergies with the EU flagship project "Quantum Technology", which is in its inception. Furthermore the basic research-oriented cluster "Munich Center for Quantum Sciences and Technology" (MCQST), applied for in the third round of the German Excellence Initiative, could also build upon this network.

The announcement by Bavarian Prime Minister Söder to commence building a quantum computer in Bavaria (government statement of 18 April 2018) is a reference to the successes of the actors in the greater Munich area brought together through the Munich Quantum Center (MQC).