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In Thuringia, a new Center for Quantum Optics and Sensor Technology is being developed. To support this process Thuringia's Minister of Science, Wolfgang Tiefensee handed over two grants of 1.5 million Euro each funded by EU and Freistaat Thüringen to the president of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Prof. Dr Walter Rosenthal, and the Vice-Rector of the Technical University Ilmenau, Prof. Dr Kai-Uwe Sattler. The funds are used in particular for the laboratory equipment and staff. Both universities will jointly support the new, cross-site innovation center.
The field of quantum optics and sensors fits in excellently with the country's innovation strategy to make Thuringia a pioneer in the field of industrial metrology, said the Minister of Science Wolfgang Tiefensee. "Quantum optics can be used to further refine measuring methods in many areas and overcome present limitations." This applies e.g. for microscopy, semiconductor lithography, imaging or sensors.
The new in Innovation Center for Quantum Optics and Sensor Technology (InQuoSens) emerges from the already established cooperation between the two Thuringian universities. InQuoSense will be an integral part of the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) in Jena and the Institute for Micro- and Nanotechnologies MacroNano® (IMN) in Ilmenau where the areas of quantum optics and sensor technology are active research fields. The direct cooperation between the two centers enables InQuoSens to cover the entire scientific process chain and thus also to respond to the specific innovation needs of the Thuringian industry. "The Innovation Center should not least serve graduate education and technology transfer," emphasized Prof. Dr. med. Kai-Uwe Sattler, Prorector for Science of the Technical University Ilmenau.
Together with the Fraunhofer IOF, the partners are currently working together on the question of how quantum technologies can be used, for example, in autonomous driving or medical diagnostics. But this also means, in order to create concrete innovations in this field, it is necessary to continue to invest in basic research. According to Prof. Dr. med. Walter Rosenthal (President of the Jena University), this would be accompanied by a further increase in attractiveness of our region for outstanding scientists. "Besides, the power of successful research in quantum technologies, combined with a broad spectrum of academic teaching, will promote the attractiveness of the Thuringian universities for students". Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann goes one step further: "The combination of complementary competencies and scientific unique characteristics will establish the Innovation Center a key international player in the field of quantum technologies."
The establishment of such an innovation center at the interface of photonics and sensor technology was recently explicitly endorsed by the German Wissenschaftsrat.