DFM is contributing to the Second Quantum Revolution by developing metrology solutions for the transitioning of quantum technology into “real life” applications. Recognizing the importance of innovative quantum metrology technology, the Danish Agency for Institutions and Educational Grants has granted its support to DFM via a research result contract (“Resultatkontrakt”) running on the years 2019 and 2020.
Quantum technology exploits the fundamental quantum physical properties for the development of the technology of tomorrow. Quantum technology has the potential to revolutionize a number of important industrial areas such as the IT industry, and there is currently an intense global competition in the field.
Quantum metrology deals with the development of novel measurement methods where accuracy and sensitivity become only limited by the fundamental laws of quantum physics. In addition, measurement technology supports the development of quantum technology within, for example, quantum computing, quantum encryption, and quantum materials.
DFM is establishing a number of services within quantum metrology to address the needs of Danish universities and start-up companies. The new competencies and services focus on quality assurance and calibration of novel products based on quantum technology. They are developed in close collaboration with Danish stakeholders to answer the need of the Danish quantum technology research and development.
DFM is focusing on four core activities within quantum technology: single-photon calibration, quantum light sources, ultra-stable optical frequency standard and characterization of quantum materials. DFM disseminates its acquired knowledge via publications, conferences, meetings and seminars with research groups and companies.
Quantum technology is expected to have a tremendous impact on a number of important industrial areas, such as quantum computing, IT security and sensing. Interest is quickly growing and the competition is intense for developing the quantum technology of tomorrow. Forecasts predict that within ten years a wide range of products based on quantum technology will reach the market. This is supported by large investments by multinational companies, such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, and by large public research programs such as the EUR FET Flagship on Quantum Technologies (1 billion euros) launched by the EU in 2018, and new initiatives in EMPIR on quantum metrology. At the national level, countries like the UK and the Netherlands were among the first to invest in the race for quantum technology, and Denmark has joined as well by implementing Microsoft Station-Q, Copenhagen.
The need for quantum metrology has been confirmed by comments on BedreInnovation.dk, where 10 companies and 19 educational and research institutions have expressed their support to DFM’s activities. DFM is focusing its efforts on helping Danish companies and universities to successfully achieve commercialization of quantum technology by supplying the necessary metrology tools and critical components (e.g. light sources and detectors). As this primary audience is still limited, DFM also participates actively in international networks, seminars and conferences to identify future needs and potential customers for quantum metrology services. DFM plans to reach at least 20 customers with its quantum metrology services by 2024.
ACTIVITIES IN QUANTUM METROLOGY
Many quantum technologies rely on the creation, manipulation and detection of individual photons. The emergence of commercially available single-photon quantum light sources and detectors requires novel methods of calibration that DFM is developing.
Narrow linewidth, low noise and high frequency stability are important requirements of lasers used for ion traps and quantum interferometric sensing. DFM is already a leader in frequency stabilization of lasers and is further improving the performance of its frequency standards to match the demand of new quantum technologies.
Quantum light sources hold great potential for ultra-sensitive optical measurements and quantum cryptography. DFM is developing light sources generating so-called entangled and squeezed states of light to improve sensitivity and resolution of optical imaging and interferometric techniques.
Novel nanoscale quantum materials such as semiconductor nanowires form the building blocks of quantum computers and other quantum systems. DFM is strengthening its expertise in fast nanomaterial characterization methods in order to improve industrial fabrication processes of quantum materials.