The HYPERDIAMOND project – Horizon 2020

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The HYPERDIAMOND project, coordinated by Martin Plenio, was chosen as one of the eight projects (out of 390) selected in the Horizon 2020 call Personalizing Health and Care: Development of new diagnostic tools and technologies: in vivo medical imaging technologies.

HYPERDIAMOND marks the first translational research and innovation project coordinated by the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITP). Unlike the previous EU projects of the institute which were research focused, HYPERDIAMOND is a research and innovation project aiming at developing a new technology for improving medical imaging, in particular the imaging of targeted molecules and processes in vivo.

Building on recent breakthroughs in molecular hyperpolarization, which proved > 10,000-fold increase in sensitivity on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), HYPERDIAMOND will bring radical advances from the fields of quantum physics and nanotechnologies to develop a technology suitable for widespread medical use. Leveraging unique properties of NV centres in diamonds, combined with diamond surface and organic chemistry and dynamic nuclear polarization protocols, the HYPERDIAMOND project will bridge the gap between the lab and the medical setting, making two new technological devices compatible with medical imaging requirements.

In the project ITP will develop novel dynamic nuclear polarization protocols which will serve as the basis for the developed technology, model the dynamics of nuclear relaxation in nanodiamonds, and support the experiments with theory and simulations. Moreover, one of the SMEs participating in the project, NVision Imaging Technologies GmbH, is a technology spin-off of Ulm University founded by Ilai Schwartz and Martin Plenio of the ITP, ITP alumni Alex Retzker and Fedor Jelezko from the IQO. NVision is building on the research performed at ITP and the Institute of Quantum Optics to bring novel imaging technologies to real-world applications.

ITP, together with three additional institutes in Ulm University, established a truly multidisciplinary team: combining leading research institutes and 3 SMEs, with expertise ranging from molecular imaging (Austrian Institute of Technology), NMR (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), nanodiamond material science (François Rabelais University, Van-Moppes), theoretical and experimental quantum physics (University of Ulm, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, NVision Imaging Technologies), diamond surface bio-chemistry (UULM), small animal MR imaging (Hadassah Medical Center, UULM), pre-clinical expertise (UULM, Hadassah, AIT) and medical devices and magnetics production (Kanfit).

Updated: May 2016

Table-Tennis tournament

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This April we have celebrated the 1st Table Tennis Tournament of the ITP. It has been an amazing event where many institute members have taken part, either as a participant or as a captivated audience. We had four rounds, each of them full of incredible matches and breathtaking shots that will be remembered forever and ever.

Click here to watch video clip #1

Click here to watch video clip #2

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After three weeks of thrilling expectation Ish Dhand has won the finals, obtaining the certificate of the Absolute Winner, donning the victory crown, and gaining the honorable title of PingPong King! Congratulations again!!!

Given the success of the first edition, we are already planning a Table Tennis League while we wait for the second tournament!

Many thanks to Pelayo for organizing it!

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Updated: May 2016

Faculty Kolloquium and visit to the ITP

We were most happy to welcome Stephanie Wehner (TU Delft) to visit the Institute and deliver the last Faculty Kolloquium of the year 2015. Stephanie presented a very nice and pedagogical talk on the foundations of quantum thermodynamics. She also discussed her recent work on the revision of the concept of Carnot maximal efficiency for quantum thermal machines, which does not only depend on the temperature of the heat reservoirs. These are results in collaboration with Mischa Woods, a former PhD student of the Institute. You can read all details in arXiv:1506.02322

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There was also time for discussions Followed by a hearty Schwabian dinner of Goose and Rotkraut at the Zunfthaus in the Fischerviertel to celebrate the Christmas season.

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Stephanie was lucky with the weather and also brave enough to climb the tower of the Ulmer Münster (768 steps to reach the top) before catching the train home. The Münster is the one of the five tallest structures to be completed last century, with the steeple of almost 162 meters, the tallest church in the world. Below you can see two fantastic pictures she took in her ascent.

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Winter Semester 2015/16 kicks off

And with it, the Monday faculty colloquium. Hosted by Wolfgang Schleich, the first speaker this season has been Prof. Wojciech Zurek, Einstein Professor at Ulm University and a researcher at Los Alamos State Laboratory. Besides revising some aspects of his well-known theory of decoherence, Wojciech presented his approach to a minimal derivation of the quantum formalism in terms of the concept of “Envariance” (Environment assisted invariance) of composite quantum states. This allows for Born rule to feature as derived result rather than an additional postulate. There were plenty of questions and agitated discussions showing that nothing stimulates physicists more than a good dose of foundations. You can check the technical details of Wojciech work’s on the concept of envariance in   W. H. Zurek, Probabilities from entanglement, Borns rule from envariance, quant-ph/0405161, Phys. Rev. A 71, 052105 (2005) .

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MOVERS and SHAKERS

Andreas Albrecht has defended his PhD thesis in July 2015. He was awarded the title with distinction and is now in his way to Barcelona to join the group of Theoretical Quantum-Nano Photonics at ICFO led by Prof. Dr. Darrick Chang.

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Andreas’ viva provided yet another occasion to display an incredible piece of PhD hat craftsmanship and was followed by a degustation of delicious super-Pretzel to feed the entire group.

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Andreas later received a special farewell present with the award of the PhD Prize of the SFB/TRR 21 “Control of Quantum Correlations in Tailored Matter”. Further handmade cakes were provided to celebrate the good news and the start of his postdoc position in Barcelona.

Tillmann Baumgratz defended his PhD thesis and was awarded the PhD with a Distinction. Now he is off to new shores,  taking up a postdoctoral position at Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, to work in the group of Animesh Datta. The amazing graduation hat was designed by his office mates, Andreas and Robert, and had some tomography component plus a reminder of a snowboarding mishap (never try to impress your girlfriend too much) during his time with us. Fortunately, there is no (much) snow in Oxford…

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Sarah Pomiersky completed her Master thesis under the supervision of Chris Schroeder and Martin Plenio. Good occasion to celebrate with our favourite Quarkkuchen from the Ulmer Zuckerbäcker. Sarah decided to move to the real world to pursuing a career in industry or consulting. We still hope that she may not like it and be back! 

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Debora Contreras has been awarded a long term fellowship to join the Institute of Physics at the UNAM, in Mexico DF. This is the first step to become a permanent member of staff and we congratulate Debora warmly on the success. Cecilia Cormick has also returned to Latin-American to take up a research position the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba in her native Argentina. Jianming Cai is also on the move after having accepted a Full Professor position at the University of Wuham in China. We are very happy that also Cecilia and Jianming will continue their careers in academia. movers9
 

 

 

 

 

<= Cecilia explains the intricacies of “alfajores” to a concentrated north American audience (Chris Schroeder and Nathan Killoran).
Thanks to Debora we got to know some amazing Mexican sweets:

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The LH1-like coconut ring has achieved cult status in the seminar board…
Jianming was the official liaison officer with our favourite Chinese restaurant in Ulm. We look forward to his next visit so that to properly celebrate his new position in China with a delicious Peking duck with pancakes.

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Abolfazl Bayat , on the left, is now back in London, working with Sougato Bose in UCL.

ITP publishes another work in Nature Communications

Colour centers in diamond are very sensitive magnetic field sensors. Just how sensitivewas demonstrated by Fedor Jelezko and his team together with Jianming and Martin. Implanting a single NV colour center just 2nm below the surface they were able to observe the magnetic field of just a few silicon nuclear spins. This feat became possible by using state-of-the-art noise decoupling sequences and advanced methods of signal processing which allowed the team to extract the relevant information from a noisy signal. This is another step towards the holy grail of examining protein structure by means of diamond sensors. For the complete story go to Nature Communications 4, 3704 (2014)

ITP work published in Nature Communications

Nature Communications publishes an article in which Jianming, Fedor and Martin propose a hybrid sensor composed of a colour centre in diamond which is covered by a piezomagnetic material. The resulting device promises a sensitivity for pressure and force that is three orders of magnitude increased compared to a colour centre in diamond. The very same design may also lead to the same enhancement for electron spin-vibrational coupling thus providing new routes to the design of nanomechanical systems. You can read the complete story in Nature Communications 5, 4065 (2014).