Credit: Markus Krutzik21.06.2021
"I am Fascinated by the Possibilities of Quantum Sensors"
Dr. Markus Krutzik does not have an everyday job. He is Head of the Joint Lab Integrated Quantum Sensors (IQS) of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Ferdinand Braun Institut. At the beginning of June, he gave a talk as an expert within the framework of "Wissenschaft trifft Wirtschaft ("Science Meets Business", WtW). The series of events, organised by Humboldt-Innovation - a subsidiary of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - and the HU Berlin's Service Center for Research, aims to connect researchers and companies and thus get innovations off the ground. The topic of the WtW event in June: "Quantum Sensors and Imaging".
40 participants - among them representatives of industrial companies, SMEs, researchers and students from Berlin-Brandenburg, but also international guests - virtually visited the WtW event on "Quantum Sensors and Imaging" in early June. They were looking into the future, as quantum technologies (QT) are revolutionising science and technology. One branch of these technologies is quantum sensors, which can be used to measure physical quantities such as frequency, time, inertial forces, and electric and magnetic fields with extreme precision. One of the speakers and at the same time a leading expert in the field of quantum sensors : Dr. Markus Krutzik, Head of the Joint Lab Integrated Quantum Sensors (IQS) of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut.
Dr. Krutzik, what was specifically initiated at the event on June 2?
At the moment, there are numerous efforts to transfer quantum technologies with high technology maturity into the market. In the Berlin-Brandenburg region, there are numerous companies and research institutions that (can) hold a place in the value chain. We would like to point out that a significant market for optical, mechanical and electronic key components of quantum technology already exists. Also, we would like to show interested companies where their competencies are of particular value.
What did you personally gain from the event?
Above all, insights into utilisation potential, impulses for future research projects and, in particular, new contacts. With our work, we would also like to contribute to establishing a network of science and business institutions with a regional focus in Berlin-Brandenburg. SMEs, start-ups, research institutions and universities are to be networked in order to lay the foundation for an ecosystem in which technology transfer and the commercialisation of so-called "enabling technologies" of photonics for applications in quantum technologies are central. Events like WtW support this objective.
What particularly appeals to you about your field?
I am fascinated by the possibilities that lie dormant in quantum sensor technology: through increasingly accurate and effective methods that help answer future questions in areas such as mobility, climate, healthcare. Our quantum sensors use high-precision spectroscopy techniques with atomic ensembles either at room temperature or - using laser cooling - close to absolute zero. To realise devices for high-precision measurement of physical quantities such as frequency, time, inertial forces, and electric and magnetic fields, we exploit the intrinsic properties of quantum mechanical states - and their precise manipulation with laser light. I am particularly fascinated by the combination of physics and engineering in quantum sensing. It is necessary to implement ideas from the laboratory into society.
Applicability - not only to space, but also to everyday life - is a focus of your research. Can you give examples of applications your team has developed?
We are researching atom-based technologies for field sensing and metrology. As one example, I would like to mention the so-called optical clocks. These are a necessary building block for future satellite-based navigation and transportation infrastructures based on it. They can also serve as a reliable and precise clock for synchronizing optical networks in the post-5G era and are thus of central importance for the data processing of the future. At IQS, we have been working for many years with partners from the industry who are involved in system integration and also validation of the technologies.
What is the importance of the transfer between science and industry in general - and for your field of quantum sensor technology in particular?
Networking along industry-relevant value chains for the commercialisation of quantum sensor technology is one of the central challenges of numerous national and international activities. In the Berlin-Brandenburg region, there are many small and medium-sized companies, research institutions and university groups involved in quantum technologies and, in particular, photonics as a key technology. This ranges from basic research and the production of key components to the application of these technologies. The players thus cover broad parts of a value chain. At the same time, they represent the necessary prerequisite for initiating a successful network that is to be established in the capital region in the medium term as an internationally visible quantum technology hub.
Two more events of the "Wissenschaft trifft Wirtschaft" series are planned for 2021. However, the topics have not yet been determined. As this is an open format, researchers at the university, as well as interested companies, can contact Humboldt Innovation at any time with suggestions for topics.
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