Quantum Technology

 

Background

Much of our current technology, from semiconductor electronics to lasers, has emerged from what is sometimes referred to as the “first quantum revolution”, i.e., the understanding of the properties of matter based on the laws of quantum mechanics. More recently, elusive concepts of quantum mechanics such as superposition and entanglement ‑ which have long been regarded as puzzling curiosities of quantum mechanics with no practical purposes ‑ have become the keystones of several technological applications fostering the notion of a "second quantum revolution".

These applications go from quantum sensing, to quantum simulations to quantum communications, and, last but not least, to quantum computing. The latter represents a paradigm shift in computing more fundamental than the evolution from the abacus to today’s supercomputers and promises unprecedented capabilities for certain computational tasks. Altogether, these different applications form the field of quantum technology.

We are now witnessing an exciting phase where quantum technology is moving from the mere academic research environment to be a primary topic of interest for industry and society. Much of this development has been driven by major investments by private companies (e.g. Google, Microsoft, IBM, INTEL,…) and by national and international funding agencies (see e.g. the European FET Flagship Program on Quantum Technologies). The consequence is that there is an increasing demand for a specialized quantum-savvy workforce.

We are now moving beyond just making indirect use of quantum effects and working on directly controlling them. It is a defined goal of the Federal Government that German institutes and companies will be a part of shaping this transformation and pioneering the "second quantum revolution". Examples of how "second-generation quantum technologies" could be used include creating measuring devices with much higher precision, vastly enhanced data communication security, and building higher-performance satellites and computers. The possibilities in these technologies are so great that they could have major effects on our economy and society, as well as being extremely relevant to security policy. The international race to turn these technologies into industrial reality has already begun, with activities underway in all the leading countries.

Quantum technologies – from basic research to market, BMBF, Germany.

A novel Master study track

To respond to this need, the Physics Department of the RWTH Aachen University is offering a novel Master study-track on Quantum Technology, starting from the winter semester 2019/20. This study track has been developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology and will include theoretical and experimental courses alike, and a new, dedicated lab course where to put theory into practice. Students will be also offered cutting-edge research projects and an industrial tie-up for internships. A brief introduction to the topic followed by a concise teaching and research plan is given in the presentation - Quantum Technology.

The study track is also one of the strategic measures of the Cluster of Excellence ML4Q in the field of teaching, and it greatly profit from the close collaborations with experts from Jülich Research Center, Cologne and Bonn Universities.

 

Curriculum

The two-year (four semester) master study track Quantum Technology is jointly organized by the Department of Physics and Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. The curriculum offered by the Masters program physics is given below, with courses in bold being mandatory. The first year consists of lectures, seminars and lab courses. The second year is dedicated to an individual research project.

Department of Physics
Winter semester (Total 30 ECTS)

Condensed matter physics I or Quantum theory of condensed matter I or Theoretical solid state physics - 10 ECTS

Hardware platform for quantum technology - 5 ECTS
Elective courses - 15 ECTS
Summer semester (Total 30 ECTS)
Quantum Information - 10 ECTS
Lab course quantum technology - 5 ECTS
Elective courses - 15 ECTS
Winter semester (Total 30 ECTS)
Master's seminar and practical - 30 ECTS
Summer semester (Total 30 ECTS)
Master’s thesis and colloquium - 30 ECTS
 

A list of elective courses offered by the Department of Physics (see "Elective courses" → "Specialization courses" → "Nanoelectronics" or "Experimental Condensed Matter Physics" or "Condensed Matter Theory") and Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (see "Major fields" → "Micro- and Nanoelectronics (MINA)" → "Elective MINA" or see "Electives (General)") should help the students choose the courses in the first year which will be relevant to their field of research interest for the second year. Following is the list of recommended QT-relevant elective courses offered by the Department of Physics.

Elective courses - Winter Semester 2021/22 (All are 5 ECTS, unless stated otherwise)
Quantum Optics
Quantum Theory derived from Information Principles
Quantum Computing (Chalmers University)
Advanced Theory of Topological Insulators
Physics of Nanostructures (Students Seminar)
Nano-optics I

More information on the (theoretical and experimental) research groups at the RWTH Aachen and the Research Center in Jülich can be found at research page .

All other relevant information about application procedures for German and international students, entrance qualification, and exam regulations can be found at the respective links.

Since the QT study track relies strongly on the profound knowledge of quantum mechanics, we expect that your understanding of the subject is equivalent to the course taught at the undergraduate study in the Department of Physics. For example, the Quantenmechanik - script taught in summer semester 2019 included topics like: Schrödinger (time-independent) equation, WKB approximation, Dirac notation, operators, observables and measurement, harmonic oscillator, symmetries, spin, hydrogen atom, approximation methods, and identical particles.

If you are not familiar with the above topics, you might have to consider the Master's college for the bridging courses, where missing pre-knowledge is imparted.

Note that the language of study is English.

 

Testimonials

Having a Quantum Technology (QT) track at RWTH made perfect sense considering the current advancement in this field.

The winter semester of 2019 started with a broad overview of different topics. From the lectures on Condensed Matter Physics to the perfectly organized Hardware Platforms for Quantum Technology, I gained a solid background in the field. Quantum Optics lecture stole the show for the elective courses. I also attended lectures that were not specific to QT, however, they were still interesting.

As was promised, more activities were yet to come starting with the two weeks Matter and Light for Quantum Computing (ML4Q)-cluster course. Due to the corona pandemic situation, we expected some technical hiccups with the sudden online learning format. Nevertheless, learning about five research areas was indeed insightful.

The summer semester 2020 introduced new QT-specific courses like Quantum Measurement and Quantum Error Correction (QEC), alongside the already established ones. The QEC was a distance learning course organized in collaboration with TU Delft, the Netherlands. Thanks to the video-on-demand format, I could attend it from the comfort of my home. The Quantum Information course helped me understand the importance of the physicality of the information and the benefits of the quantum computer. Unfortunately, the Lab course Quantum Technology was held online. I could not benefit as much as I would have liked to do. The poorly organized data made me lose too much time on the otherwise engaging experiments.

With the introduction of the courses like the Modeling of Superconducting Devices (TU Delft) and Quantum Computing (Chalmers University) courses in the winter semester of 2020, I am impressed by the level the RWTH is aiming. Along with the collaborations (Köln, Bonn, TU-Delft, Chalmers, etc.) and in-house research facilities like the Research Center at Jülich, I hope to benefit from every chance RWTH Aachen is offering me. Hopefully, someday I can contribute back with my research.

Roudy Hanna, RWTH Aachen University.

When I joined the RWTH Aachen in 2016, the Quantum Technology (QT) Master study track was not offered as one of the main study tracks.

I went for Quantum Field theories and Gauge theories that were both challenging and exciting. I took all the courses that one could take in the quantum direction, e.g., quantum optics, quantum information, and computational physics, to name a few.

Now, since the QT study track is offered as the main track, I believe this would benefit students who wish to concentrate only on quantum.

For all others, who would like to have more interdisciplinary courses and want to combine courses offered in the QT track with other tracks, I offer myself as an example that it is possible.
After my Master's, I went ahead to pursue a Ph.D. in quantum computing at Jülich.

I wish the next generation, who have the opportunity to attend the well-organized QT track, all the very best. I would like to remind them of the words of Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi that scientific discovery is not so much in seeing what nobody has seen but seeing what every one has seen yet thinking what nobody has thought.

Manpreet Singh Jattana, RWTH Aachen University.

Contact

Name

Anand Sharma

Research associate and coordinator

Phone

work
+49 241 80 28516

Email

E-Mail
 

FAQ

What is quantum technology?

Quantum technology is a novel field of physics and engineering, which exploits quantum entanglement, quantum superposition and quantum tunneling for practical applications such as

  • quantum communication (or cryptography),
  • quantum computing,
  • quantum sensors (or metrology), and
  • quantum simulation.

For more information and to discover, understand and engage, visit the Quantum Technology flagship.  

Which area of the quantum technology is the focus of study at RWTH Aachen University?

Among the four area of specialization, RWTH Aachen University focuses on Quantum Computing.

What is the prerequisite for this Master study track?

You should have completed your Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Physics. The Master study track in quantum technology relies strongly on the profound knowledge of quantum mechanics. It is expected that your understanding of the subject is equivalent to the course taught at the undergraduate study in the Department of Physics. For example, the Quantenmechanik - script taught in summer semester 2019 included topics like: Schrödinger (time-independent) equation, WKB approximation, Dirac notation, operators, observables and measurement, harmonic oscillator, symmetries, spin, hydrogen atom, approximation methods, and identical particles.

If you are not familiar with the above topics, you might have to consider the Master's college for the bridging courses, where missing pre-knowledge is imparted.

For the national engineering students, the Department of Physics have developed a course "Quantum mechanics for electrical engineers". 

I have a Bachelor's degree in Electrical- or Computer Engineering. Am I eligible to apply for the Master specialization Quantum Technology?

You can apply to the MINA major at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology and choose Quantum Technology-related courses.

Do I have to choose Master specialization Quantum Technology during the application process for the M.Sc. in Physics program at the Department of Physics?

No, the Master specialization Quantum Technology can be chosen after your admission based on the courses undertaken by you and it is not required to be chosen during the application process.

Is the Master study track experimental or theory oriented?

In this study track, student can choose between experimental or theory as their area of interest and specialization.

How many credit points are mandatory for the core and elective courses?

For the Master study track, overall 30 ECTS each are mandatory for both core and elective courses.

What are the elective courses for this study track which will help in the research project?

A list of elective courses offered by the Department of Physics (see "Elective courses" → "Specialization courses" → "Nanoelectronics" or "Experimental Condensed Matter Physics" or "Condensed Matter Theory") and Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (see "Major fields" → "Micro- and Nanoelectronics (MINA)" → "Elective MINA" or see "Electives (General)") should help choose the courses in the first year which will be relevant to their field of research interest for the second year.

What are the theoretical and experimental research groups at RWTH Aachen?

Information on the theoretical and experimental research groups at the RWTH Aachen and the Research Center in Jülich can be found at research page.

What are the (research or industry) job opportunities available after completing Master of Science in Physics with specialization quantum technology?

For types of job opportunities, see Quantum Technology flagship.

Are there any scholarships available for the Master study track? How can I apply?

In the framework of the new Cluster of Excellence Matter and Light for Quantum Computing (ML4Q), RWTH Aachen University will be awarding full two-year scholarships to two outstanding students starting from the year 2020. 

The students will have to apply to the Bonn Cologne Graduate School (BCGS) Master Honors program for the scholarship selection procedure apart from making an official Master's program application at RWTH Aachen University. See the BCGS page for more details on the application and selection process, deadlines, etc.

For more detailed information on individual scholarships, click here.

For more information, whom should I contact?

For more information on the Master study track, contact Dr. Anand Sharma.

 

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