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PHOENICS meeting at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics in Heidelberg

On February 23rd, our PHOENICS project had its first project meeting in person since the beginning of the project. 21 participants from the nine partner organizations met at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics in Heidelberg. The project partners were engaged in fruitful discussions about the most recent project review, and on the further focus of the project. All work package leaders offered status updates on their technical progress. 

It was so nice to share coffee and lunch together in Heidelberg as informal opportunities for exchange. We are looking forward to our next meeting in Oxford in August.

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Seminar in Biarritz

Great opportunity for discussion on fabrication, simulation, and ongoing projects in integrated optics for the Neuromorphic Quantumphotonics Group from Heidelberg and the Responsive Nanosystems Group in Münster on a five-day seminar in Biarritz, France. We had intense exchange of ideas and thoughts not only during the seminar hours, but also during dinners and walks at the sunny beach - surfing was also offered.

International Workshop on Physical Computing, October 29 - November 6, 2022 in Erice, Sicily/Italy

The International workshop on Physical Computing took place from October 29 until November 6, 2022, in Erice, a picturesque medieval town in Sicily.

The days were filled with enlightening and motivating talks covering the entire field of physical computing. Leading scientists in the fields of photonic computing, nanofabrication, and quantum computing presented their actual research. During the poster sessions and the breaks, the participants of the workshop were able to exchange and discuss ideas. Congratulation to Fabian Beutel (Pixel Photonics) and Xin, CJ (Harvard John A. Paulson School Of Engineering And Applied Sciences) for winning the best short talk and poster awards, respectively!

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EU funded projects



By switching to the optical domain and nanophotonic circuits PHOENICS will set a new paradigm in artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing.

The PHOENICS architecture is based on the hybrid integration approach of three different chip platforms: optical input generation in silicon nitride signal encoding and modulation in indium-phosphidneuromorphic processing and detection in silicon. 

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The EU-funded PHEMTRONICS project is exploiting plasmonic phase-change materials (PCMs) in novel reconfigurable and tunable adaptive devices for applications in all sorts of optoelectronics from smart phones and displays to optical computing.

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Munich Quantum Valley

The HEI-group develops fast electo-optic modulators operating at a 698 nm and 317 nm wavelength to generate optimal signals for the consortium. The final goal is to fabricate a network of modulators with a modulation bandwidth of 5 GHz and a modulation depth of 60 dB, thus reaching unprecedented control. The device will be modular, accessible via fiber-coupling and wire-bonding to a PCB. The design will provide high spatial and temporal control allowing for the manipulation of hundreds of atoms on a single-atom precision.

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HYBRAIN’s vision is to realize a radically new technology for ultra-fast and energy-efficient edge AI inference based on a world-first, unique, brain-inspired hybrid architecture of integrated photonics and unconventional electronics with collocated memory and processing. As the most stringent latency bottleneck in CNNs arise from the initial convolution layers, we will take advantage of the ultrahigh throughput and low latency of photonic convolutional processors (PCPs). Their output is processed using cascaded analog electronic linear and novel nonlinear classifier layers.

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The goal of CLUSTEC is to open a radically new path for scalable quantum computing and quantum networking based on continuous variable (CV) cluster state protocols, concepts and technologies. While our long-term grand vision is to build a universal, fault-tolerant and network compatible quantum computer based on CV, the main objective of CLUSTEC
is to address the fundamental scientific questions associated with technological scalability, computational universality, quantum error-correction, computational applications and quantum advantage certification.

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BMBF funded projects


Within the PhoQuant project our group is responsible for developing photon-number resolving (PNR) detectors based on superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs). Waveguide SNSPDs with photonic beam splitter networks and PNR detectors will be realized on Lithium-Niobate-on-Isulator (LNOI) substrates. In addition, our group is working on the development of efficient coupling interfaces to PNR-SNSPDs.

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The project partners of SPINNING are working on a design that features unprecedented connectivity and flexible configurations. In addition, the quantum processor is able to operate with low cooling requirements and thus may be implemented in close proximity to classical computer systems.

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In the QSAMIS project a compact quantum key distribution (QKD) system running at record-high secret key rates is developed. Fast parallelised data transfer is achieved by wavelength-multiplexing and rapid modulation on the sender photonic integrated chip and superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs) on the receiver chip. While Pixel photonics is responsible for the design and fabrication of the receiver module, we at Heidelberg University design the sender chip and the electrical interface.

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This project aims to develop and investigate a complexity reduced high efficiency single photon receiver for quantum key distribution (QKD), which can be used in a variety of applications. Heidelberg University will realize and characterize an on-chip system with 16 detector elements for single- and multi- mode single-photon high system efficiency detection using NbGe waveguide-integrated SNSPDs. High system detection efficiency shall be achieved by optimizing the devices geometry, film deposition and fabrication procedure.

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In the HYPHONE project, novel photonic chips will be tightly integrated with proven electronic chips. This results in matrix vector multiplication hardware with currently unmatched figures in throughput, latency and energy consumption. One of the many immediate fields of applications is autonomous driving, where vast amounts of optical data must be processed in real-time. The project will be carried out in close cooperation with Salience Labs.

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The uTP4Q project aims to develop a uniform platform for quantum photonic integrated circuits (QPICs) needed for complex applications like quantum communication. Heidelberg University will develop membrane-based chiplets with integrated superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) which can be integrated into hybrid quantum photonic circuits by means of micro-transfer printing.

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DFG funded projects

Hybrid 3D

In the field of optical neuromorphic computing, one unsolved question is the one of the optimal material platform to realize photonic integrated circuits.
In order to circumvent this question and profit from the advantages of multiple materials, micro 3D printing is used to combine different material platforms. In the course of this project a low-loss 3D printed photonic interconnection between two chips should be realized.

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Silicon Actuator

The main objective of this project is to implement an electrochemically driven optical solid-state multi-layer actuator onto a photonic chip and characterize its optical properties as well as the capability to modulate light propagation through a silicon waveguide.

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22.02.2022 Scientific talk at Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft

A photonic machine story – new computing architectures for AI


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