Quantum technologies

Bitkom Quantum Summit 2021

The expectations are gigantic, the stakes are high: quantum physics is reaching the reality of life. When quantum technologies come into use, the possibilities are hardly foreseeable yet, so enormous is the potential. The question is: When and how will quantum technologies come into use? The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is on the trail of the answers in countless projects and initiatives. In May 2021, the industry association Bitkom will host the first Quantum Summit. And, of course, Fraunhofer will be there.

The industry association Bitkom is hosting the first "Quantum Summit" on May 26 and 27, 2021. There, important players from the provider and user side, with researchers, startups, politics and administration as well as international guests will exchange ideas. The Summit will provide an overview and introduction to quantum technologies and show how today's decisions - political, economic and technological - are shaping the future in Europe and the world.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is participating as a premium partner of the event. 13 speakers from seven institutes, the Fraunhofer Academy and the Fraunhofer headquarters will be enriching the program with presentations, in discussion rounds and workshops.

The Bitkom Quantum Summit 2021 will take place virtually on May 25 and 26, 2021. Participation is free of charge. You can register at this link: www.quantum-summit.com/tickets

You want to get started with a quantum computer?

Competence Network "Quantum Computing"

Become a Fraunhofer partner and get access to our IBM Q Sytem One quantum computer for research, training and education. Visit the Fraunhofer competence network quantum computing!

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Compactly explained: quantum basics

  • Quantum physics can hardly be experienced in our everyday life. Everything that can be directly experienced by us – all macroscopic, larger things – obeys the principles of classical physics. But on a small scale, at the atomic level, these principles are turned upside down: For there the laws of quantum physics reveal themselves. And they do not only appear odd on first glance: elementary particles, atoms and molecules can behave like particles or waves. They can superimpose and thus assume several states simultaneously. And they can be entangled with each other, so that a particle always has the complementary information to its twin – no matter where the twin is located. Above all, the uncertainty of the state of a particle is fundamental in quantum mechanics. It is in a so-called superposition of different possible states. In short: Nothing is fixed, but everything is possible. So it is about probabilities, more precisely about probability waves. Only if one observes or measures a particle, one knows at which position, in which state it is exactly – and destroys the quantum state at the same time.

  • Quantum Technologies

    We distinguish between different disciplines that make use of the properties of quantum physics.

    In quantum computing, so-called qubits are used instead of "conventional" bits to perform computing operations. Qubits can also assume any combination of 0 and 1 by superimposing quantum states. In this way, larger problems and more complex tasks can be calculated in parallel instead of linearly. In order to compute with them, quantum algorithms must be defined and translated. The first quantum computers are already in use – for example, at the Fraunhofer Competence Network in Ehningen. The vision for the future is the quantum Internet, which couples several quantum computers via quantum information.

    So-called twin photons are being utilized in quantum communication. They complement each other's properties at all times – regardless of how far apart they are. You only need to measure one to know the state of the other. This can be used for secure physical encryption, which could soon be used to reliably prevent hacker attacks, data leaks, and economic and bank espionage.

    Quantum imaging makes use of entangled photons that cover the entire optical spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet. This allows objects to be made visible even in wavelength ranges that were previously invisible. Put simply, a different beam of light is used to examine the object than is used for imaging in the camera. While the one photons are sent to the object to be detected in the invisible wavelength range, the twin photons in the visible spectrum are captured by a camera. Since the entangled light particles carry the same information, an image is formed even though the light reaching the camera never captured the actual object. Applications of these principles are expected to be in medical imaging or in the study of material surfaces.

    The discipline of quantum AI combines two current key technologies: quantum computing and artificial intelligence. Quantum computers could rapidly tackle one major problem that digital systems currently struggle with: Mathematically, many AI problems are so-called combinatorial optimization problems, such as determining optimal delivery routes. If such problems are complex, i.e. contain many variables, it is currently very difficult to impossible to find optimal solutions in a reasonable amount of time.

    The basic principle of quantum sensing is simple: electrons fly around atomic nuclei, spinning around themselves like a gyroscope. This rotation is called spin – a quantum mechanical property. The electron spin causes a magnetic dipole to form around the electron, which is attracted or repelled by other magnetic fields. For so-called quantum magnetometry, the states of electrons – more precisely, the electron spin – of a very specific defect in the grid structure of diamonds are measured optically. A magnetic field shifts the energies of the spin states, which can be measured by a change in brightness. Quantum sensing opens new doors, especially in medical diagnostics and materials analysis.

  • Wave-particle duality

    Elementary particles such as photons or electrons, and even atoms and molecules sometimes behave like a wave, at others like a particle. A conventional particle can only occupy one position, but a wave propagates in space and can overlap other waves.

  • The quantum tunnel effect

    The wave-like properties of particles allow them to move through energy barriers as if passing through walls. Humans consist of particles, so the theoretical probability of each particle in the human body possessing the ability to cross the rectangular potential barriers of a wall is greater than zero. Be warned, though: Attempts to demonstrate this ability could prove painful.

  • Schrödinger’s cat

    Perhaps the most famous thought experiment for explaining quantum physics involves a cat and a flask of poison gas. The two are placed in a box containing a radioactive source and a mechanism that breaks the flask when it detects a radioactive particle. The probability that the poison gas will be released is given at any moment. The process of radioactive decay is an ideal randomizer for determining this moment in time. In other words, without any interaction with the outside world, Schrödinger’s “quantum” cat is in a state of superposition, entangled with the state of a radioactive particle. The cat is therefore both dead and alive its state remaining indeterminate until someone opens the lid to a look inside the box.

  • Quantum entanglement

    Einstein once described this effect as “spooky action at a distance.” The properties of entangled particles are always complementary. And, although they may be light-years apart, they are inseparably linked to one another. If, for example, a state of vertical polarization is observed in one of a pair of photons, then the other must be horizontally polarized. And this despite the fact that its state has not been previously ascertained and no signal has been exchanged between the two particles.





Prof. Dr. Manfred Hauswirth
Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS | Speaker of the Fraunhofer Competence Network Quantum Computing


Quantum AI

Prof. Dr. Christian Bauckhage
Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS



Quantum Internet

Florian Elsen
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT

More information



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