Scientific Focus

Description of the state-of-the-art

Ultracold atoms and molecules offer an unprecedented degree of control, pushing the frontiers of quantum technologies and allowing high impact applications in atomtronics, quantum simulators, quantum information and quantum metrology. Diode and transistor-like atomic devices as well as matter-wave analogues of Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) have been recently demonstrated. Ultracold atoms are the ideal candidates to simulate quantum systems ranging from condensed matter to high-energy physics. Initialization, manipulation and read-out techniques for ultracold atoms together with their inherent scalability and large coherence times have opened promising prospects for quantum computation.

Nowadays, applications ranging from frequency standards to tests of fundamental physics benefit from spectacular levels of accuracy and stability of atomic clocks and atom interferometers. On the “big science” scale, the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES), NASA’s cold atom laboratory (CAL), and the Space-Time Explorer and QUantum Equivalence Principle Space Test (STE-QUEST) are two space mission projects with ultracold atoms in microgravity environments. But there is a much wider range of earthbound applications. Ground-based cold-atom interferometers are considered for gravitational wave detection. Quantum sensors based on ultra-cold atoms include ultrasensitive gyroscopes, magnetometers, gravimeters and gravity gradiometers with applications in navigation, biomagnetic imaging and archaeology. Companies, like Muquans, AOSense and ColdQuanta are already starting to offer quantum products based on laser-cooled atoms, some of which are aimed at real-world industrial applications.

Progress beyond the state-of-the-art

Over the duration of AtomQT, we expect a number of major breakthroughs for optical clocks, matterwave-based sensors, interferometers, and magnetometers, enhancing performance and flexibility/portability. Proof-of-concepts will be developed into commercial prototypes, and we will integrate them into existing platforms and projects ranging from geology to medicine and biology.

On the technological side, we will address engineering aspects of previously demonstrated technology. Members of our consortium will direct efforts at optimizing hybrid and atomtronic circuits. This addresses issues of scalability, integrability, connectivity, contribute to quantum information/computation, and enable the development of miniaturized and portable quantum sensors. We will address issues of size, weight, power-consumption and robustness of cold-atom infrastructure, including dedicated laser technology, photonics, electronics, and vacuum technology.

At the same time, members of AtomQT will conduct forefront research in quantum gases, which is expected to deliver important insights into future quantum technology. Our expertise ranges from dipolar and Rydberg cold atoms to light-matter interaction and quantum optics. Beyond contributing to fundamental science, we will discover and develop new basic principles for the next level of quantum technology. AtomQT will promote the conception of novel physical systems for sensors, computing and communication devices, the development of new measurement and control techniques, and enlarge the scope of ultracold atom quantum simulators to study important issues emerging in modern quantum material science including topological order, spin liquids and other exotic quantum phases of matter.