The Foundation for Polish Science has announced the results of the competition for International Research Agendas (MAB FENG). The project submitted by researchers from the University of Warsaw received funding of PLN 30 million. The team’s work will be led by Prof. Konrad Banaszek at the Centre of New Technologies (CeNT), University of Warsaw.

The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) has settled the competition for International Research Agendas. The projects are funded by the European Union, under the European Funds for a Modern Economy (FENG) programme. Among the projects awarded was the agenda submitted by the UW’s Centre for Quantum Optical Technologies (QOT). The team led by Prof. Konrad Banaszek received a grant of PLN 30 million for the project “Quantum Optical Technologies”.


The project is aimed at developing optical quantum signal processing technologies. The results of the work will help develop methods for secure communication. The project will be carried out at the University of Warsaw within the QOT centre of excellence.


“Thanks to grants for International Research Agendas, innovative centres of excellence are being established in Poland, where research is carried out at the highest level. We are pleased that the Foundation for Polish Science has once again appreciated the project prepared by researchers from the University of Warsaw,” Prof. Zygmunt Lalak, the UWVice-Rector for Research, said.


QOT Centre

The Centre for Quantum Optical Technologies was established in 2018, as part of the first edition of the FNP’s International Research Agendas programme, and is a joint unit of the University of Warsaw and the University of Oxford. The QOT is based at the UW’s Centre of New Technologies.


The idea behind the establishment of the QOT unit was to create a platform for the development of applied research in quantum optical technologies conducted at the University of Warsaw, in particular at the Faculty of Physics and the Centre of New Technologies CeNT.


Several research groups have been active in the QOT for more than five years, achieving a number of significant scientific and application results, such as the presentation of the theory of quantum sensors in continuous measurements, inventions related to quantum communication, the development of a quantum optical memory with an integrated signal processor and a microwave-optical converter based on Rydberg atoms.


New project

The new project, entitled “Optical Quantum Technologies”, will be a continuation of the research already started and a key step towards its application on a larger scale. Applicants in this project are a group of research leaders at QOT led by Prof. Konrad Banaszek, head of the Quantum Technologies Laboratory group focusing on quantum communication and related topics and a professor in the Chair of Quantum Optics and Atomic Physics at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Faculty of Physics, Universisty of Warsaw.


Prof Banaszek’s group will look into the implementation of practical quantum communication protocols, where the security of transmission can be guaranteed by the fundamental physical properties of light. The team is taking a maximally practical approach, with the ultimate aim of enabling the above communication technique to be used, for example, between a base station and an orbiting satellite. In collaboration with experimental groups, quantum signal processing methods will also be developed that can improve data transmission in the optical band.


The Foundation for Polish Science will allocate PLN 30 million to support the QOT centre. The aim of the winning project is to conduct excellent scientific research with high application and commercial potential. The project will involve students and doctoral candidates, including those from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw and the Doctoral School of Exact and Natural Sciences. Activities within the framework of the agenda will broadly contribute to increasing the prestige and recognition and internationalisation of scientific research in quantum physics conducted at the University of Warsaw. The foreign partners of the QOT centre taking part in the project are Oxford University and Eindhoven University of Technology. These universities will support QOT in the development of scientific excellence and commercialisation processes. The implementation of the research agenda will be overseen by an International Scientific Committee composed, among others, of representatives from these institutions.


Teams involved

The applicants also include Prof. Michał Parniak, group leader of the Quantum Optical Devices Laboratory and assistant professor in the Division of Optics at the Institute of Experimental Physics, Faculty of Physics, UW. His laboratory will deal with the implementation of quantum protocols based on Rydberg atoms. Relying on its own recent fundamental discoveries, the team will develop ultra-precise microwave sensors, applicable to next-generation communication networks, applied metrology, terahertz devices and interference- and attack-resistant radars. The second key technology will be a matrix of trapped Rydberg atoms, which is one of the leading new technologies for computing (quantum computing) and quantum simulation. The team plans to make a device available for commercial applications and scientific partners in the future, as a system entirely designed and built in Poland at the University of Warsaw.


Quantum sensors are also the subject of research by Dr Jan Kołodynski and his team, leader of the Quantum Information and Inference Laboratory. Dr Kołodynski’s team will develop unique software and models that will be applied to state-of-the-art quantum sensors based on atoms, diamonds and optomechanical systems, increasing their sensitivity and range of applications. Together with the experimental team, Dr Kołodynski will develop schemes for the operation of Rydberg sensors, as well as sensor networks that are extremely interesting conceptually and attractive from a practical point of view. The QOT Centre will provide a space for collaboration between programmers, theoreticians, engineers and experimental physicists. The interaction will create a link between the engineering world and the non-intuitive world of quantum mechanics.


In addition, the QOT centre will also have a team designing high-precision electronic devices specifically for quantum technologies. Unique engineering solutions will also be developed, based on, for example, patents developed from previous projects at QOT. This work will be crucial and necessary for the quantum systems under study to exhibit the expected properties. The group will be led by Prof. Wojciech Wasilewski from the Division of Optics at the Institute of Experimental Physics, Faculty of Physics, UW.