The work of the Institute was mentioned in The Economist

The work of the Institute on hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging was mentioned in a recent special on quantum technologies by The Economist: .

In our work, Ilai, Qiong, Benedikt, Pelayo, Janica and Martin are collaborating closely with our friends from the Institute of Quantum Optics to use diamond quantum technologies to create very strong nuclear spin polarization in nanoscale diamonds as well as metabolic molecules outside of the diamond substrate. As the signal in a magnetic resonance scanner is proportional to the polarization of the target, this has the potential to strongly enhance the imaging capabilities of MRI. Our dream is to use these ideas to revolutionize cancer imaging and hence improve its detection as well the assessment of treatment success. Supported by the EU Project HYPERDIAMOND we have made encouraging progress, but we want to go further. With our start-up NVision Imaging Technologies  we are pursuing the translation of this quantum technology to the real world !

Congratulations to Jorge Casanova for winning a “Forschungsbonus”!

Jorge Casanova wins a “Forschungsbonus”,, an award of the Ulm University for excellence in research, to recognize his work on the control of electron and nuclear spins in diamonds and trapped ions.

Well done Jorge !

Two articles from ITP in first issue ever of QST journal

We are proud that our group has two articles in the first issue ever of the new journal ‘Quantum Science and Technology’:

Picture1Coherent control of quantum systems as a resource theory. – J.M. Matera, D. Egloff, N. Killoran, and M.B. Plenio
Quantum Sci. Technol. 1, 01LT01 (2016)|ArXiv
The gist of it

While controlling a quantum system is a standard task nowadays, we are still far away from developing quantum computers, and one might wonder what is the difference between the two. Qualitatively the difference is that for quantum computing one needs to control quantum systems in a quantum way, using quantum systems instead of directly using the large apparata or (classical) electromagnetical fields that often are enough to control a quantum system directly. In this letter we make this idea precise by building a theory which allows us to quantify the usefulness of controlling a quantum system through a quantum system instead of using a classical one.


qstaa2b2ff1_lrRealising a quantum absorption refrigerator with an atom-cavity system. – M. Mitchison, M. Huber, J. Prior, M.P. Woods and M.B. Plenio
Quantum Sci. Technol. 1, 015001 (2016)|ArXiv
licensed under CC BY 3.0
The gist of it

Cooling of atomic motion is an essential precursor for many interesting experiments and technologies, such as quantum computing and simulation using trapped atoms and ions. In most cases, this cooling is performed using lasers to create a kind of light-induced friction force which slows the atoms down. This process is often rather wasteful, because lasers use up a huge amount of energy relative to the tiny size of the atoms we want to cool. Here, we propose to solve this problem using a quantum absorption refrigerator: a machine that is powered only by readily available thermal energy, such as sunlight, as it flows through the device. We describe how to build such a refrigerator, and predict that sunlight could actually be used to cool an atom to nearly absolute zero temperature. The refrigerator works by trapping the sunlight between two mirrors, in such a way that every single photon makes a significant contribution to the friction force slowing the atom down. Similar schemes could eventually be important for reducing the energy cost of cooling in future quantum technologies.

Summer BBQ

Yesterday we had our annual BBQ!
The food was delicious and the company was great!

Thanks to everyone who helped out :)


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And a special thanks to our Rock Stars!

Click here if you want to feel like you were there!

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Updated: August 2016

The paper “Ultrasensitive magnetometer using a single atom” was selected as a PRL EDITORS’ SUGGESTION

High-sensitivity magnetometer using a single atom
Ultrasensitive magnetometer using a single atom.
– I. Baumgart, J.M. Cai, A. Retzker, M.B. Plenio and Ch. Wunderlich,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 240801 (2016)|ArXiv

The gist of it

The development of highly sensitive methods for the detection of minute fields lies at the heart of quantum metrology and has, over the history of science, led to many discoveries. This motivates the continuous drive towards the development of ever more sensitive metrology methods. Of particular interest in this context are atoms and ions that are trapped in ultra-high vacuum as they can be isolated to a remarkable degree from environmental influences. Still noise will impose limitations and needs to be addressed.

We demonstrate a novel method for sensing magnetic fields and demonstrate that it can achieve the best sensitivity ever realized for a single trapped atomic particle and it can do so over a broad range of frequencies. State-of-the-art magnetometers reach their best sensitivity in a limited frequency-band or do not work at all (for all practical purposes) outside a certain frequency range. The type of magnetometer introduced here could be used to detect fields from direct-current to the gigahertz regime – an unprecedented range of frequencies – using an atom confined to a nanometer-sized region in space. Moreover, the magnetometer is essentially immune against magnetic disturbances and reaches a sensitivity close to the standard quantum limit.


Updated: June 2016

Felipe is a Daddy!

Congratulations, Felipe, for the birth of your new born son, Yunus Caycedo!!!

We hope you have a joyful and healthy journey ahead and we are looking forward to Yunus’ first  visit to the institute!


Updated: June 2016

Congratulations to Maria for the PhD grant

We would like to congratulate Maria for receiving a PhD grant from La Caixa in Spain!

We are sad that you will be leaving us but wish you Good Luck in this next exciting venture!


Updated: June 2016