29 November 2022

MCQST Scientists at the 2022 Quantum Future Awards

The annual Quantum Future Awards is a program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) which honors outstanding master's and doctoral theses with high potential relevance to the field of quantum technologies. On November 25th, the award ceremony took place, and ten finalists presented the jury and audience with short pitches based on their theses. The submitted papers were evaluated by a panel of experts from politics, industry, and science. Among the ten finalists, the work of three scientists from the MCQST cluster was recognized.

Group of people standing together holding their awards. © BMBF

In the Masters category, Robin Allert, who completed his study at the Technical University of Munich -Department of Chemistry, won second prize with his thesis on "Quantum sensors in diamonds for lab-on-a-chip applications".

Robin explains "Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices have materialized as invaluable life sciences tools by shrinking a whole chemistry or biology lab to the size of a credit card. These systems require far less sample volume while allowing for complex functionality, increased reproducibility, and high throughput. Thus, this technology already encourages applications such as artificial organs for drug development, nanomole-scale chemistry, or single-cell studies. However, LOC devices require comprehensive sensor miniaturization to leverage these advantages fully. Here, atom-sized quantum sensors are highly promising to overcome current limitations and have already enabled measurements of, e.g., temperature, electric or magnetic fields on the nano- to microscale. Yet, the technical complexity of both fields has so far impeded a combination of LOC systems and quantum sensors.

During my master thesis, we combined these two technologies by developing a microfluidic platform for solid-state spin quantum sensors - in our case: the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond - specifically for lab-on-a-chip applications. Our microfluidic quantum-sensing platform allows us to perform various NV center-based sensing modalities for chemical analysis at these small length scales. Furthermore, we were able to show that our platform can be easily adapted to various applications for both the LOC and the quantum sensing community, subsequently opening up new and exciting applications of quantum sensing."

“I'm thrilled to receive the Quantum Futur Award for my Master thesis. I will use the award to visit other research groups working in quantum science, broadening my horizon. I'm really looking forward to new experiences in this exciting field.”

Two other MCQST scientists were finalists in the PhD category: Benjamin Merkel from the Technical University of Munich with his thesis on "Enhancing the Emission and Coherence of Erbium Dopants" and Dominik Niemietz, from the Technical University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics with his thesis on "Nondestructive detection of photonic qubits with single atoms in crossed fiber cavities".

MCQST wishes heartfelt congratulations to all finalists and winners of the Quantum Futur Awards!

The award ceremony was broadcast live on YouTube. You can view an edited cut of the ceremony here:

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