“Clusters4future” is a new competition held as part of the German government’s High-Tech Strategy 2025, which was established to speed up the pipeline between excellent research and innovations. The cluster sketch “Quantum sensors for the future (Qsens)”, which is a joint project between the universities of Stuttgart and Ulm, the Institute for Microelectronics Stuttgart (IMS CHIPS) as well as different partners from industry, is now among the 16 finalists after the first round of the competition who have now been invited to submit a full proposal. The proposal is aimed in particular at the use of quantum sensor technology in the areas of personalized medicine, mobility, renewable energy and space technology.
Quantum technology is a new field of research, which combines the physical foundations of quantum physics with practical aspects of engineering. Here, quantum effects such as entangling two photons or the energy states of an atom are used for applications in the fields of quantum communication, quantum sensor technology, quantum simulation and quantum computing. Quantum sensor technology in particular has a lot of potential for producing the first industry-relevant applications in the foreseeable future and of covering the growing need for high-precision sensor technology, both in industry as well as the consumer sector. Because of this, the QSens cluster initiative has set itself the goal of transferring the groundbreaking results from the basic research into quantum technology which have been seen in Stuttgart and Ulm in recent years into the products of tomorrow.
The technologies developed as part of “Qsens” should give Germany a technological edge over the competition as a place to do business. Secondly, they should make a decisive contribution towards solving some of the most urgent problems of our era – fully in keeping with the University of Stuttgart’s vision of “Intelligent Systems for a Sustainable Society”.
Therefore, the use of quantum sensors in clinical diagnostics for example or in medical or biological research has the potential to overcome the limits that currently exist in sensor technology, analytics and imaging, and thus open up new opportunities in biotechnology and medical engineering. In autonomous vehicles, quantum sensors could improve on traditional sensors and increase vehicle safety, as well as making some functions possible for the first time. Quantum sensors will also play a key role in storing energy in batteries, because they make it possible to obtain detailed information about the function and charge state as well as the aging process of battery systems.
The federal government plans to invest up to 450 million euros over the next ten years as part of the “Clusters4future” initiative. Seven clusters will each receive funding of up to five million euros per cluster per year for up to 9 years starting from 2021. The final selection of the recipients of this funding will be made after a six-month concept phase, which itself will be funded with 250,000 euros. A total of 137 ideas were submitted, from which a team of expert jurors recommended 16 outstanding entries to go forward to the next round. They may now submit a full proposal for the final round.