Leiden scientists receive millions for research into quantum technology

The mixing cooling machine cools molecules to absolute zero, which is essential for quantum research. (Photo: Robert Pierce)

Six projects from Leiden University have received a grant for quantitative research from the Quantum Delta Dutch National Growth Fund program and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). A total of nineteen studies are supported. Six of them were carried out by researchers in Leiden.

To stimulate quantum technology, there is an urgent need not only for the business community, but also for science. This is the view of Quantum Delta Netherlands, which makes nearly ten million euros available to physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians working in quantum research. “This extensive experience contributes to the development of all types of quantum technologies. Research into new sensors, faster algorithms, and quantum materials, for example,” the organization explains.

Superfluid Quantum Informatics – Dirk Baumeister
Superfluid helium is one of the most exotic forms of quantum matter, and like superconductors, it exhibits lossless discrete excitations, as is desirable for quantum memories and quantum computers. Superfluid helium is also the ultimate optomechanical system, allowing light particles to couple with superfluid quantum waves. This is important for quantum networks and for generating quantum entanglement at a distance. The researchers will combine integrated photonics technology with superfluid nanochannels to control the interaction between light and sound helium waves down to the level of single quantum excitation, thus developing a wide range of new quantum technologies.

Quantum Algorithms for Mathematical Problems – Peter Bruin
Quantum computers have the ability to solve some algorithmic problems much more efficiently than classical computers. But it is still only partially known what kind of structure the problem must have to be susceptible to such a “quantum acceleration.” Researchers use techniques from algebra and number theory to gain new insights. They demonstrated the resulting algorithms by running them on small-scale quantum chips.

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Solving Problems in Topological Data Analysis – Patrick Emunts
Topological data analysis is a new approach to extracting powerful information from complex data sets. It is used in medicine, biology, finance and time series analysis. The analysis of topological data can be formulated as a problem in quantum mechanics. This new formulation allows us to leverage the power of quantum variational algorithms and quantum-inspired methods on classical computers to solve difficult problems in topological data analysis.

Better components for a quantum internet – Martin van Exter
The first steps toward building a quantum internet have been taken, but there is still much more to be done. Van Exeter’s group is investigating options for improving the fundamental elements of the quantum internet. The relatively new Van der Waals materials that researchers are using for this purpose offer unprecedented possibilities because they can be designed and manufactured layer by layer. By placing this extremely thin material between two mirrors, its good properties are further enhanced. The combination of new materials and optical confinement offers the potential to increase the previously modest communication speed on the quantum internet by several factors of ten.

Quantum reading of a quantum sensor – Bas Hensen and Café Lahabe
The most sensitive magnetic field detectors are superconducting circuits placed on a nanochip. They are used in quantum computers, medical research, and even space travel. In this paper, we expand the capabilities of these detectors by coupling them with high-frequency superconducting resonators. This allows better and faster reading of the detectors, but also enables coherent coupling of the resonators to other systems that produce a magnetic field, such as the motion of a small magnetic particle. This allows control of motion, all the way up to the quantum system.

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Promoting the search for new quantum algorithms using artificial intelligence – Alphonse Larman and Vedran Dunccu
Compared to classical algorithms, which have benefited from decades of additional development, many quantum algorithms are still in their infancy. The underlying techniques in classical algorithms often provide a huge advantage. This project will add these key techniques to quantum algorithms, so they have the same benefit as well as quantum acceleration. Thus, the resulting new line of quantum algorithms will be more likely to be compared with their classical counterparts. This fills an important gap on the path to “quantum advantage,” a first experiment showing that quantum algorithms can be faster than classical algorithms at performing a useful task.

The Quantum Delta Dutch Growth Fund organizes quantum scientific research in cooperation with the NWO. Last year, Leiden technology company Cryogenics was rewarded by organizations with millions of dollars in financial support for its quantum research.

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Megan Vasquez

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