Collaboration Prepares DTU for Quantum Future

A DTU-wide collaboration called Quantum DTU is to secure DTU national and international leadership when the quantum millions are being distributed over the coming years.

quantum

During the next ten years, quantum technologies will become part of and revolutionize our everyday lives in the form of computers, sensors, encryption, and much more—and in a way that can be difficult for us to comprehend.

Businesses will also boost both their research and development activities in this area.

“As from 2018, EU’s future flagship project, which is backed by EUR 1 billion, will focus on quantum technology, and several European countries are investing massively in the area. Innovation Fund Denmark has contributed DKK 80 million, and over the next couple of years, more funds are likely to be allocated to quantum research,” explains Ulrik Lund Andersen, Professor at DTU Physics.

He is the driving force behind the new collaboration across DTU, Quantum DTU. So far, six departments are involved, but the hope is that many more will follow.

“We have unique competences at DTU, which we would like to strengthen and make more visible by means of Quantum DTU. No other Danish university is so good at making research useful to the rest of society as DTU, and this is something that we must make the most of internally and to which we must draw even more attention externally. Quantum research takes place within many of the academic areas with which we work at DTU, so hopefully we can bring together representatives from virtually all parts of the University,” says Jesper Mørk, Professor at DTU Fotonik.

DTU’s strengths to be cultivated

Other Danish universities, including the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University, also have leading international quantum technology researchers. The idea behind Quantum DTU is to create a strong interdisciplinary research environment which will strengthen DTU’s position in the battle for research funding. Moreover, the collaboration is to draw attention to the fields in which DTU has some of the world’s leading researchers. This is true within, e.g., communication using light, sensing using light and diamonds, and the development of new materials and light sources.

“In these areas, we have world-class laboratory facilities to support our future research and collaboration with the business community. This collaboration will be supported by networks with relevant businesses and other research groups both in Denmark and abroad,” says Jesper Mørk.

Another essential part of the Quantum DTU collaboration is the desire to educate more quantum technology engineers, who will be in high demand in future. This is done both by offering all DTU students quantum technology courses supported by the new Quantum Lab located in Nanoteket and by strengthening the new MSc programme in Quantum Engineering. In addition, Quantum DTU will establish a PhD school with a joint theoretical and practical programme for all PhD students, whose projects—regardless of department—will focus on quantum technology.

“Finally, we want to communicate relevant and readily understandable information to the rest of society. We want to explain what quantum technology is—and provide practical examples of how businesses can use it. Some elements of quantum technology may almost seem mysterious, for instance when we talk about entanglement, which is a special type of correlations between quantum particles. It is also difficult to comprehend the enormous number of calculations that a quantum computer is able to carry out over a short period of time—and which we can secure by encrypting them. This is something that we would like to explain and make understandable,” says Ulrik Lund Andersen.