Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Physics of quantum technologies

January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2027
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.02.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics   

Code Science Field
1.03  Natural Sciences  Physical sciences 
quantum technology, quantum communication, space technology, quantum optics, quantum sensors, cold atoms, superconducting circuits, qubits, nanodevices, quantum memory, optomechanics, matter-wave interferometry, many-body physics, non-equilibrium effects, machine learning
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on December 5, 2023; A3 for period 2017-2021
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  257  7,732  6,958  27.07 
Scopus  268  8,321  7,481  27.91 
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  53798  Jure Brence  Computer science and informatics  Technical associate  2022 - 2023  21 
2.  55763  Katja Gosar  Physics  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023  20 
3.  58229  Torbatiyan Hadis  Physics  Researcher  2023 
4.  21545  PhD Peter Jeglič  Physics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  215 
5.  53022  PhD Rainer Oliver Kaltenbaek  Physics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  73 
6.  53461  PhD Luka Pavešič  Physics  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023 
7.  30886  PhD Anton Potočnik  Physics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  94 
8.  55093  Žiga Pušavec  Physics  Researcher  2023 
9.  57091  Don Rolih  Physics  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023 
10.  50514  PhD Jaka Vodeb  Physics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  59 
11.  23567  PhD Rok Žitko  Physics  Head  2022 - 2023  247 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  88,507 
2.  1554  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics  Ljubljana  1627007  33,692 
We will study quantum phenomena in individual objects and their assemblies (optical photons, trapped cold atoms, trapped dielectric particles, superconducting qubits, hybrid nanowires). Because these systems can remain quantum coherent over long times, they are well suited for storing and manipulating quantum information for quantum applications, and for fundamental tests of quantum physics. The research group consists of theoretical and experimental physicists working in complementary research areas of quantum physics. We will focus on the following: 1) We will develop a system for generating and transmitting entangled photons compatible with quantum memories. We will participate in the efforts to build a regional quantum communication network and a European quantum communication infrastructure using existing fiber infrastructure. 2) We will develop a setup to optically trap sub-micron dielectric particles in ultra-high vacuum and to use cavity quantum optomechanics to control and to cool their center-of-mass motion. We will investigate preparing such systems in non-classical states. These developments will be key for future space-based tests of quantum physics, for applications of quantum optomechanics in space and for high-sensitivity measurements. 3) We will explore novel quantum phenomena in trapped cesium atoms at extremely low temperatures. We will build a new apparatus with the capability of manipulating the atoms with optical tweezers in order to precisely engineer atomic arrays and to explore novel approaches for quantum simulation and quantum-enhanced metrology, e.g. solving optimisation problems and precision magnetometry. 4) Through the use of state-of-the-art quantum annealers we will conduct basic research in the field of condensed matter physics, focusing on non-equilibrium dynamics. We will explore the applicability of quantum annealers as optimization problem solvers in areas such as machine learning, material science, biology, pharmacy and finance. We will study quantum scars that break ergodicity. We will develop efficient error correction algorithms for quantum annealers. 5) We will develop new experimental techniques for studying individual and coupled superconducting qubits. The emphasis will be on detailed study of sources of energy relaxation and decoherence in qubits related to material and interface defects as well as to the interaction with controlled and uncontrolled system degrees of freedom in complex superconducting devices. 6) We will develop a complete theory of sub-gap states in ultrasmall superconductors coupled to quantum dots and similar nanodevices, devise new probing and manipulation techniques, and explore complex assemblies of such elements. We will also provide general theoretical support to all experimental endeavors in the programme and investigate interacting many-body models that describe engineered systems, such as Bose-Einstein condensates, optical lattices, and superconducting circuits.
Significance for science
Quantum physics is the foundation of a wide range of fields and underpins most research in atomic, molecular and optical sciences, and in solid-state physics. Since the 1970s it has become possible to probe and manipulate individual quantum objects with increasing accuracy. Since then, even the most peculiar quantum effects like superposition and entanglement have started to be applied in ways that had previously been judged impossible. Pioneering experiments were performed on electrons, neutrons, trapped ions (and later atoms), single photons, and in superconductor junctions. These experiments fully confirmed even the most non-intuitive predictions of quantum theory. The degree of control has since been steadily increasing, coherence times were extended, quantum effects have been demonstrated for increasingly massive and macroscopic objects, and the robustness of experimental setups and devices has continued to improve. Now we are at the stage where some of these technologies are emerging out of the laboratories as prototypes and even end products. Nonetheless, fundamental research on highly coherent quantum systems keeps revealing new surprising effects. One of the important future directions is to confirm that these coherent effects are maintained in increasingly complex assemblies of such elementary constituents, which has implications both for fundamental science (connections between the quantum and classical realms, decoherence mechanisms, "non-locality" of quantum physics) and for technology (feasibility of scaling of quantum computers to a very large number of qubits). The proposed research program encompasses several research topics in the wider scope of quantum science, covering all major research areas (computation, simulation, communication, metrology, foundations of quantum physics). Quantum networks and, in particular, the distribution of entanglement as a quantum resource will be central in order to realize the full potential of quantum technologies. Current and planned European efforts aim towards providing an incentive to build or supply the necessary infrastructure for quantum networks and quantum communication. In many cases, the challenge is to get access to existing telecommunication fibers for quantum communication without disturbance from existing traffic or from regularly spaced classical amplifiers that would destroy quantum signals. We will work on key elements of quantum networks: sources of entangled photons, entanglement swapping, and single-photon frequency conversion to allow the storage of our photonic qubits in atomic quantum memories. In particular, narrow-band sources of entanglement that are compatible with quantum memories promise to play a central role in the development of large scale or even global quantum networks. In the field of quantum-enhanced metrology and sensing, we will develop quantum optomechanical systems in order to interact mechanical systems with non-classical optical states and to prepare non-classical mechanical states. For example, this can be used to implement quantum non-demolition measurements and to overcome the standard quantum limit in quantum-enhanced sensing and metrology. Quantum optomechanics promises to allow the preparation of massive mechanical systems in non-classical states. One can then observe the time evolution of such states to test the prediction of quantum theory for increasingly massive objects. Such tests will be crucial in order to quantitatively determine whether increasingly complex and macroscopic quantum systems will eventually experience deviations from the predictions of quantum physics, e.g., due to gravitational effects or due to yet unknown physics. In the field of quantum computation and simulation, we will develop novel approaches for studying complex materials with competing interactions. This will enable applications to novel compounds, such as materials with long-lived switchable metastable states, quantum spin liquids, and moiré heterostructures. Cold-atom quantum simulators for models of particles hopping in a lattice while experiencing strong repulsion can be used to resolve long-standing open problems such as exotic magnetism and high-temperature superconductivity. The methods for studying devices incorporating ultrasmall superconductors will be instrumental in engineering complex structures for application in quantum computation and simulation. Quantum annealers will enable us to study non-equilibrium quantum dynamics in systems which are intractable to simulate classically, enabling the discovery of new quantum phenomena and a better understanding of known ones. We will ascertain exactly which real-world materials are amenable to quantum simulation. Through studying the performance of a quantum annealer with machine learning methods we expect to learn about the possibility of applying quantum error correction to quantum annealers. Decoherence and energy relaxation in the state of the art qubits is limiting the development of large-scale general purpose quantum computers. To overcome these restrictions and enable practical quantum computation, quantum error-correction schemes have been proposed, which rely on a large number of physical qubits to encode a single logical qubit. Mitigating sources of decoherence and energy relaxation in qubits is crucial to enable error-correction schemes as well as reduce the physical qubit overhead in fault tolerant quantum computing architectures. Developing novel techniques for studying sources of loss on complex quantum devices is thus imperative to understand the origin and reduce their detrimental effects and with that increase the coherence of larger quantum devices. In the scope of the project we will further develop theoretical tools for quantum physics that are already freely available on the Web as open source software and used by many researchers worldwide, as well as develop new packages.
Significance for the country
Quantum technologies have been recognized by the European Union to be of strategic importance. The goal of the EU is to ensure the technological sovereignty of Europe, reduce its dependence in key areas, and develop technological supply chains for the emerging industry. Slovenia is now taking the first steps to participate in this endeavor, for example by participating in the EuroQCI initiative aiming to build quantum communication infrastructure for provably safe communications with no possibility of eavesdropping, spanning the EU and its overseas territories. This will improve European cybersecurity and industrial competitiveness. The researchers in this programme group have committed to participate in working towards the goals of EuroQCI by building the first pilot system for quantum communication. Quantum phenomena will provide the basis for novel technological applications in many areas of human activity. Quantum sensing will be used in medicine to provide health monitoring and personalized medication, in remote sensing for environmental monitoring, and in early warning systems based on gravimetry to warn against impending earthquakes, permitting people to seek shelter and to shut down vulnerable infrastructure (e.g. nuclear reactors). Improved atomic clocks will lead to advances in satellite navigation, metrology and maintenance of measurement standards. The recently modernized International system of units (SI) is entirely based on quantum phenomena: the accuracy is now limited only by the quantum structure of nature and our technical abilities of measurement. Public administration and affairs will benefit from the advances in communications and information technologies. The industry will benefit from the advances in quantum computing that will, e.g., provide means to solve optimization problems, for instance in logistics, where small savings matter at the large scale and a faster time to obtain solutions can provide a significant competitive edge. Important early applications are also expected in quantum chemistry, for instance to complex materials or biologically important molecules (including pharmaceuticals), fertilizers, etc. Quantum computing will also find applications in machine learning, promising much faster training. The researchers of this programme group will ensure the participation of Slovenia in these global endeavors and provide liaison for Slovenian partners (industry, government, public institutions). We will promote Slovenia abroad through our excellence in research by keeping pace with the global research community in key areas, by organizing international scientific conferences and workshops, by giving invited talks and seminars at important gatherings and institutions, and by actively participating in bilateral and EU projects. In this way, we will enrich national scientific and cultural heritage. In the scope of this research programme, we will also start developing critical infrastructure to enable further development of quantum science in Slovenia. We are establishing the first laboratories in these fields in Slovenia, building instrumentation, gathering know-how, and providing training and education to the next generation of researchers, for both academic research and industrial development, in fields spanning physics, quantum chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics. We will be involved in maintaining state-of-the-art computation facilities (e.g. the computer cluster of IJS department F1) and establishing the basic software stacks for modelling and engineering quantum systems. We will acquire access to quantum computing facilities that are being set up throughout the world, seek specific training and explore the capabilities of such hardware, and spread the obtained know-how to all interested parties in Slovenia. We will act as a hub to facilitate access to the large-scale facilities abroad. Whenever available, we will use prototype systems developed by Slovenian companies in our research laboratories and thereby provide a showcase for the global market. We will seek collaboration with the national industry at the proof-of-concept level. A promising type of quantum sensors are ultra-sensitive atomic magnetometers for detection of magnetic fields and magnetic field gradients that are currently being investigated for various applications including dynamical measurements of biomagnetic fields, detecting signals in NMR and MRI, inertial rotation sensing, and magnetic microscopy with cold atoms. We will explore routes to sense tiny nuclear quadrupole resonance signals from explosives, illicit drugs, and pharmaceuticals. We will intensify our outreach activities to the general public, policymakers, and industry. We will raise awareness about quantum science and technology. We have already written many newspaper articles for the general readership, participated in many radio and TV interviews, delivered a public lecture in scope of the European quantum week 2020, and we will organize local activities for the World quantum day, tentatively on April 14 2022.
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