Science is currently facing a new era of quantum technology: because they are now not only able to read the states of individual quanta, but also to actively excite and even manipulate them, completely new applications are opening up in communication, simulation, computing and sensor technology. However, very complicated and space-consuming laboratory set-ups are still needed at present to solve meaningful tasks with the so-called Q-bits.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM (Berlin) have therefore set themselves the task of taking the step from basic research to industrial and commercial applications. In order to realise cost-effective devices, they are relying on technical solutions from the field of telecommunications. There are photons, the carriers of quantum mechanical information. Protocols and infrastructures for their transmission and manipulation already exist in the form of special circuit boards.
The researchers see a great opportunity for solutions in quantum communication in the use of optical waveguides integrated in glass. The clear advantage of glass fibres over semiconductors is that glass is transparent to near infrared waves, which are used in quantum technologies. In addition, glass as an optical waveguide has significantly lower losses, ensures less residual scattering of light, is more cost-effective in production and can be recycled.