Quantum Research Groups and People in Jena

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena.
© Fraunhofer IOF
Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena.
Institute of Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller Univsersity Jena.
© Fraunhofer IOF
Institute of Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller Univsersity Jena.

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann


Andreas Tünnermann is

  • director of the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and
  • chair for the Institute of Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller University Jena

His main research interests include scientific and technical aspects associated with the tailoring of light. Research topics are the design and manufacturing of novel micro- and nano-optical photonic devices using high-end microlithography and its application for generation, amplification, steering and switching of light. In particular, his work on high power diode pumped fiber and waveguide lasers is widely recognized. Since recently he has also been dealing with challenges in the application of phenomena of quantum physics. His special interests here lie in the identification of added value in imaging, communication and computing. 

Andreas Tünnermann is member of the German Physical Society, European Physical Society and acatech, fellow of OSA and SPIE. His research activities on applied quantum electronics have been awarded with the Röntgen-Award, WLT-Award, Otto-Schott-Award, Leibinger Innovation Award, and the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Award. 2015 he received the ERC-Advanced Grand of the EU.

Quantum Optics

© Insitute of Applied Physics

The research group for Quantum Optics is located at the Institute of Applied Physics. The group brings together expertise in nonlinear, quantum, integrated and nano-optics to develop novel fundamental concepts and applications that harness quantum principles.

One of the main topics of the group is the development of sources of tailored quantum states of light. Mainly, we are studying the generation of photon pairs by spontaneous nonlinear processes in various nonlinear photonic systems ranging from bulk crystals over different waveguide structures to nanostructured or atomically thin surfaces. We aim to fundamentally understand the nonlinear effects leading to photon-pair generation and how they depend on the material and geometry of the sources. 

Furthermore, we investigate also the application of photon pairs for quantum-enhanced imaging and spectroscopy techniques, where they can enable measurements with better signal-to-noise ratio or in hardly accessible wavelength ranges. Finally, we develop a novel platform for integrated quantum optics based on lithium niobate on insulator, that can combine quantum-state generation, manipulation and detection on one optical chip and enables applications in quantum sensing, computing, and communication.

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Principle investigator: Dr. Frank Setzpfandt

Frank Setzpandt is the research group leader of the Quantum Optics group at the Institute of Applied Physics Friedrich Schiller University Jena and a PI of the Abbe Center of Photonics. He studied Physics and did his PhD in nonlinear optics at the Institute of Applied Physics in Jena. After a PostDoc at the Nonlinear Physics Centre of the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, he returned to Jena and is a research group leader since 2016. The research of Frank Setzpfandt combines nonlinear, integrated, nano, and quantum optics to develop novel sources of non-classical light, innovative schemes for quantum imgaging and sensing as well as integrated platforms for quantum optics.

Quantum Communication & Quantum Information

© Fraunhofer IOF

The Quantum Communication & Quantum Information group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF conducts applied research in the field of quantum communication and photonic quantum information processing. Our research focuses on tailored quantum light sources for communication, computing and sensing, processing of high-dimensional quantum for high-capacity quantum information processing, and scalable methods for distributing entanglement over long distances or in multi-partite quantum networks. Working in close collaboration with partners in academia and industry, we aim to bridge the gap between fundamental quantum research and real-world applications by developing robust, field-deployable hardware systems that are suitable for integration in future satellite- and fiber-based quantum networks.

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Principle investigator: Dr. Fabian Steinlechner

Fabian Steinlechner received his PhD in 2015 from ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, where his research focused on quantum light sources for applications in space. His postdoctoral research at the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences focused on loop-hole-free tests of non-locality, quantum communication over long distances, and quantum information processing with hyperventangled photons. In August 2018, he was appointed Fraunhofer Attract junior research group leader with his research programme "Photonic Technologies for Quantum Communication". He now leads a diverse team of scientific and technical employees with a research portfolio that spans from novel information processing modalities based on high-dimensional entanglement to near-term engineering solutions for application at system level.  With the group "Photonic Quantum Information" at the Abbe Centre for Photonics at Friedrich Schiller University Jena is investigating fundamental concepts for quantum sensing and quantum interference. With the group "Photonic Quantum Communication" at the Fraunhofer IOF Jena, and the core competences in applied optics available there, these concepts are transferred into systems for quantum communication in terrestrial networks. With the group "Active and Adaptive Optics", he is now also developing link technologies and adaptive optical systems for the implementation of these QKD systems not only on the ground but also in space.

Highly motivated candidates seeking to join an interdisciplinary team of scientist and engineers striving to continuously challenge the state of the art and thereby bring the vision of a quantum internet a step closer to reality are encouraged to submit their contact information via the website of Fraunhofer IOF Jena.

Quantum Enhanced Imaging

© Fraunhofer IOF

The Quantum Enhanced Imaging group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF is concerned with applied research in the field of quantum-enhanced imaging and metrology. Our aim is to transfer fundamental quantum science into applicable technology tackling actual challenges in the field of photonic sensing. Harnessing quantum states of light, novel techniques for imaging, spectroscopy, and metrology are realizable exhibiting particular quantum benefits when it comes to sensitivity, available spectral range, and resolution. In a rich network containing both academic and industry partners, we develop essential prototypes as turnkey devices to demonstrate that quantum technology is capable of delivering new tools for material analysis and life science, and thus, open new research paths beyond quantum physics.

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Principle investigator: Dr. Valerio Flavio Gili

Valerio Flavio Gili leads the Quantum-Enhanced Imaging Group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF. After studying physics at University of studies of Rome "La Sapienza", he completed his PhD in the field of all-dielectric nonlinear nanophotonics at Université Paris Diderot, Paris in 2018. During his PhD, he has been a visiting scientist at The Australian National University, Canberra. From 2019 to 2023 he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, where he sharpened his knowledge of quantum imaging. His current research focus lies on imaging and sensing with non-classical states of light, integrated quantum photonics, and quantum hardware development

Nano & Quantum Optics

© Insitute of Applied Physics

Being located at the Institute of Applied Physics, the Nano & Quantum Optics group investigates fundamental effects of nanostructured materials and quantum photonic systems. In close collaboration between scientists in theory, technology, and experimental characterization, the research focuses in areas where nano and quantum science meet, leading to new effects, solutions, and technologies. Combined with the concentration of electromagnetic fields on the nanoscale, the quantum properties of few photon states allow realizing novel applications, which rely directly on the entanglement of these states. The applied research methods range from the design and modelling, the fabrication and characterization, all the way to functional evaluation of nano and quantum optical structures with the aim of realizing and using optical systems with added functionality.

Besides fundamental phenomena, we explore several application perspectives of Nano & Quantum Optics, e.g., innovative approaches in near-field microscopy, quantum imaging, nonlinear imaging and spectroscopic techniques for biological specimen, and photon management in solar cells.

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Principle investigator: Prof. Thomas Pertsch

Thomas Pertsch is Professor for Applied Physics and a director of the Abbe Center of Photonics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, where he heads the Nano and Quantum Optics group at the Institute of Applied Physics. He studied electrical engineering at the Technical University Dresden, Germany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, USA. Afterwards he worked as a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering Jena. In 2003 he received his PhD from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. His research focusses on the generation and interaction of light in nanostructured matter, including optical metamaterials and photonic crystals as well as ultrafast dynamics and quantum photonics.

Quantum Hardware

© Fraunhofer IOF

The group "Quantum Hardware" works at the interface between fundamental research in the fields of Quantum of Quantum Communication, Computing, Imaging and Sensing, focusing on the transfer of  innovative quantum photonic breadboards towards field-suitable, compact hardware that can be used in application scenarios such as avionics and space, telecommunications, automotive, critical infrastructures and life-sciences. Technologies cover bulk and micro-optical, as well as integrated photonics approaches and their combination, merging competences for design, component technologies, assembly and integration techniques for alignment and bonding, as well as testing under real field conditions. Examples of the hardware that is realized in the Quantum Hardware group are high performant entangled and single photon sources for quantum communication, laser addressing units for ion-trap based quantum computers, ultra-stable and miniaturized hybrid interferometers for boson-sampling based photonic quantum computers, amongst others.

Principle investigator: Dr. Erik Beckert

Erik Beckert studied Precision Mechanical Engineering at Ilmenau Technical University, also doing a PhD about optoelectronics systems integration there in 2005. He joined Fraunhofer IOF in 2001, starting with micro-assembly technologies and introducing e.g. the technology of laser-based soldering for the stable joining of optical components in harsh environments. Now Erik Beckert is head of the department "Opto-mechatronical components and Systems" that hosts the Quantum Hardware group. In 2014 under his responsibility the first space-suitable and high performant entangled photon source was build, that even found its way into the hands of chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, when she hosted the 2020 Digital Summit of Germany.

Quantum Materials

© Fraunhofer IOF

The junior research group Photonics in 2D-Materials is dedicated to understanding the properties of atom-scale materials in quantum optical systems. Among them, transition metal dichalcogenides and hexagonal boron-nitride both stand out for their fantastic quantum physical properties. Using scalable fabrication techniques, we integrate them with state-of-the-art optical systems and aim to leverage their properties in quantum optical components and devices.

Among the key research areas are microscale room-temperature single-photon sources, functionalized nonlinear optical fibers, and monolithic polariton lasers. These light sources serve as the technological basis for ground and space-based experiments in quantum interferometry, quantum key distribution and optical sensing.

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Principle investigator: Dr. Falk Eilenberger

A long time ago Falk Eilenberger studied physics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, because he found nothing better to choose from in the town where his girlfriend studied. This makeshift choice turned out to be the best possible one, for all the wrong reasons. It led to a Diploma Degree on Spatiotemporal Photonics. He then worked on wave physics at the University of Sydney (optical waves) and Sydney’s various beaches (fluid waves). Upon returning he started to research Light Bullets for his PhD degree, which he received from the University of Jena 2014. Then followed a position as research coordinator at the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, later being in charge of coordinating Quantum Photonics activities at Fraunhofer IOF and the university’s Institute of Applied Physics.

He is now a Junior Research Group leader for Photonics in 2D-Materials. As such, he has the pleasure of working with bright students and PostDocs that help him contribute to Quantum Photonic devices, Quantum Communication, novel materials in optics and ultrafast laser pulses. Alas, he does not get to spend much time in the lab anymore and consequentially sometimes envies his students for their first-hand journey into the realm of quantum photonics.

If you want to join him on that journey feel free to send him a text or check out his group’s website.

Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Nano & Microoptics

© Institute of Applied Physics

The members of the research group Micro- and Nano-Structure Technology at the Institute of Applied Physics develop novel methods for the realization of advanced optical components. The main technologies used are based on lithography, especially electron-beam lithography, and various dry etching techniques. The developments are strongly driven by various applications such as spectroscopy, control of ultra-short laser pulses, optics for XUV wavelengths, or high-NA beam shaping for ultra-compact mobile devices. For future quantum applications the group is working on the realization of dedicated photonic integrated circuits (PICs) based on the novel material platforms Lithiumniobate-on-insulator and diamond. The latter material is utilized to integrate color-center based emitters directly into integrated optical devices such as photonic-crystal resonators and waveguides.

A particular focus of the work is on the scalability of the methods to application relevant areas to ease a potential transfer to the infrastructure of the optical industry.

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Principle investigator: Prof. Uwe Zeitner

Uwe Zeitner is Professor for Micro- and Nanostructure Technology at the Institute of Applied Physics of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and Senior Director for Opto-Mechanical Systems at the Fraunhofer IOF Jena. He studied Physics at the FSU Jena and received this PhD and Habilitation in 1999 and 2008, respectively. His field of research is the development of design and fabrication methods for micro- and nano-lithographic components and sub-systems. The related optical applications are spanning from high-performance gratings for space-borne spectroscopy to integrated optical components in LiNbO3 and Diamond for novel quantum devices.