Joint Lab Integrated Quantum Sensors

Quantum technologies enable a new generation of optical and electronic devices based on quantum states and their precise manipulation, thus opening up new prospects in numerous fields of application.

The focus of the Joint Lab Integrated Quantum Sensors (IQS) is to develop the next generation of chip-scale quantum sensors for real world applications. These sensors use high-precision spectroscopy techniques applied to atomic or molecular ensembles either at room temperature or near absolute zero using laser cooling and advanced cooling mechanisms. Here, the intrinsic properties of quantum mechanical states and their precise manipulation with laser light are exploited in order to realize instruments for highly accurate measurements of physical quantities, such as frequency, time, inertial forces as well as electrical and magnetic fields.

R&D is carried out in close cooperation and is strategically synchronized with activities of the Joint Lab Quantum Photonic Components (QPC) at FBH, which in particular develops micro-integrated laser modules. Together, the Joint Labs IQS and QPC cover the full technology chain from components to systems. Activities include modeling of photonic components, hybrid micro-integration of electro-opto-mechanical devices, system design, verification, and finally the operation of quantum sensors.

Quantum sensors are important building blocks for future applications in space and fundamental science missions, e.g., for the next generation of global navigation satellite systems, Earth observation, and fundamental tests of gravity. Together with the Optical Metrology Group at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin), several generations of miniaturized laser payloads and autonomous, absolute optical frequency references for operation on sounding rockets have been developed. Current IQS activities specifically addresseR&D for related technologies on small satellites. Reduction in cost, increase in performance and the possibility to realize short-mission development times predestines this satellite class for demonstrating enabling technologies in space.

Together with the activities located at HU Berlin, the Joint Lab IQS targets four research topics

  • Atomic systems on-a-chip
    • Chip-scale integrated atomic sensors for frequency and timing applications
    • Micro-fabricated vapor cells and integrated sensor heads (“physics packages”)
    • Development of stand-alone systems
  • Enabling technologies for atomic quantum sensors
    • Modeling, simulation and assembly of miniaturized, integrated electro-optical systems for atom manipulation in demanding environments
    • Development of miniaturized ultra-high vacuum chambers
    • Development and qualification of adhesive integration technologies and electro-optical components for UHV environment
  • Matterwave sensor development
    • Simplified concepts for atom-based sensors
    • Development of thermal beam optical references
    • Precision spectroscopy of cold and ultra-cold atoms
  • Atomic quantum systems in microgravity
    • Laser system development for experiments in µg
    • Modeling and simulation of atom-optical tools for precision sensing
    • Fundamental physics tests with ultra-cold atoms in microgravity