Research environment for a new tenure track research group in quantum computing

The aim of Forschungszentrum Jülich is to establish a strong, internationally renowned and visible research center on quantum information in Germany, linking quantum materials research with device fabrication and system integration, the co-design of hardware and software, as well as testing and user facilities. As part of this strategy, Forschungszentrum Jülich has announced an opening for a tenure track research group leader position [Background information on the annoucement]. This web page primarily intends to complement the announcement by outlining the local research environment and relevant future development plans.

The new group will be integrated in the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI). At least initially, it will be part of the JARA-Institute for Quantum Information (PGI11), one of the currently 11 scientific departments within PGI. The overall mission of the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI) is the discovery and interpretation of new phenomena in condensed matter, the development of novel materials and functional nanostructures as well as innovation in experimental and theoretical methods, all with a special emphasis on potential long-term applications in information technology and related fields. PGI has an outstanding track record in the field of quantum materials and is currently strengthening its activities in scalable quantum computing hardware. Ultimately, PGI aims to make significant contributions to the development of a large-scale quantum computer, working in close collaboration with its academic and industrial partners. In parallel with the new research group, a new experimental department for Quantum Computing, intended to work on topics related to multi-qubit devices, will be established within PGI.

PGI receives substantial core funding through the program oriented funding of the Helmholtz Association (https://www.helmholtz.de/forschung/programmorientierte_foerderung/). Core activities of the new group will thus be independent from third party funding, though additional externally funded projects are desirable.

PGI-11, headed jointly by David DiVincenzo and Hendrik Bluhm, was founded in 2016 as a joint institute with RWTH Aachen University with branches at both institutions. It is based on a partnership between Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University, the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA) established in 2007.

The following major research initiatives are representative for the local research environment in the field.

·         The JARA-Institute for quantum information is one of the lead partners of the DFG-funded Cluster of Excellence “Matter and Light for Quantum Computing – ML4Q” in cooperation with the Universities of Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf (https://ml4q.de/).

·         Within the EU granted flagship on quantum computing, the project OpenSuperQ (http://opensuperq.eu/) is realizing a superconducting multi qubit system together with the ETH Zürich, Chalmers University, the University of Saarbrücken and other partners. The task of the Jülich node of this project, also part of PGI11, is to operate superconducting (transmon) multi-qubit circuits as a central facility, serving as a competence center for the flagship.

·         The Forschungszentrum Jülich is planning to establish a Helmholtz Quantum Center (HQC). The concept foresees a technology platform consisting of a new building and state-of-the-art experimental equipment as the center of gravity for research and development in quantum computation within the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Helmholtz Association and its partners. The science case will be developed in six Research Areas:

  1. Superconducting qubits and qubit systems - towards a superconducting  quantum computer
  2. Semiconductor spin qubits for scaling to millions of qubits
  3. Development of fault-protected qubits based on topological insulators
  4. Quantum materials, designed quantum systems, and dynamic control
  5. Optical connectivity and quantum networking
  6. Integration and control systems.

HQC will bring together theoretical and experimental solid state physicists, quantum computer technologists, and electrical engineers. It will accommodate all local institutes in the field as well as providing a platform to collaborate with regional universities, national and European partners, both from academia and industry. As the operational backbone of the center, Technology Clusters will be established, covering the full range from materials processing and device fabrication to multi-qubit test facilities:

  • Technology Cluster for material design and fabrication
  • Technology Cluster for spatial- and time-resolved characterisation of quantum materials
  • Technology Cluster for optical connectivity
  • Technology Cluster for qubit experiments and integration
  • Technology Cluster for scalable control electronics

The Technology Clusters will be interlinked with the ability to process qubit devices at the Helmholtz Nano Facility (HNF) and access to quantum computer simulators and devices through the new Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing (JUNIQ) currently set up under the leadership of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre. The planned new building for HQC will include laboratory and office space for guest scientists and is planned to be fully operational by 2025.

·         The Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) provides supercomputers of the highest performance class on a national and European level and enables scientists and engineers to solve highly complex problems using simulations. JSC will host JUNIQ, which will offer European users from science and industry user support and access to quantum computer simulators and quantum computing devices at various stages of maturity, including OpenSuperQ. Usage of and therefore also education and knowledge dissemination with regard to the various quantum computing devices are key elements in JUNIQ. JUNIQ will provide remote access to quantum computers developed by HQC, with the development and implementation of a general cloud-based access system with secure authentication and authorization as well as the secure transfer of data.