Harnessing the world of quanta with precision optics and precision engineering.

Quantum Technologies for communication and microscopy

The Fraunhofer IOF presents itself at CES 2021

CES 2021 ALL-DIGITAL will take place from January 11 to 14.

Trendsetting technologies from the world of light quanta - Fraunhofer IOF presents the latest cutting-edge technologies of optics and photonics research at one of the largest electronics trade shows: the Consumer Electronics Show (short: CES). 

From January 12 - 13, our experts will present “Photonics - Made in Jena”. The latest quantum technologies for applications in the field of communication and microscopy will be presented at the digital booth.

Our trade fair exhibits 2021

Quantum communication

Explanations of the operating principle of the entangled photon source for quantum communication developed by Fraunhofer IOF.

Entangled photon source for tap-proof quantum communication

In the age of digital transformation, data must be protected today against the cyberattacks of tomorrow. An innovative method in the field of encryption is the so-called "Quantum Key Distribution", or QKD for short. It is designed to prevent sensitive and security-relevant (company) data from being stored today and read tomorrow with the help of more powerful computers.

QKD refers to the highly secure exchange of quantum keys. The data that needs to be exchanged is encrypted and decrypted when it is sent and received using a key generated by the exchange of entangled photons. Due to the quantum mechanical entanglement of the photons directed at the sender and receiver, the key is physically particularly secure. For this reason, QKD is considered the future of encrypted communication.

At Fraunhofer IOF, a stable, space-qualified source for entangled photon pairs (“Entangled Photon Source”, EPS for short) has been developed. In the EPS, a nonlinear, periodically poled crystal is pumped from two sides in a Sagnac-interferometer scheme. This source provides a significant contribution to QKD.


Datasheet: Entangled photon source for satellite-based communication

View inside the photon source where the stable entangled photon pairs are generated.
View inside the periodically poled KTP crystal where the stable polarization-entangled photon pairs are generated.
View of a mirror staircase in the two-stage interferometric setup.
View of a mirror staircase in the two-stage interferometric setup.

Quantum imaging

Explanations of the operating principle of quantum imaging and a recorded quantum video.

Quantum-based imaging systems for microscopy

At Fraunhofer IOF, a method has been further developed that allows light-sensitive samples to be observed at high resolution over long periods of time. This technology is particularly relevant to the fields of life sciences (such as biology and medicine), as tissue samples, for example, can be imaged with high contrast and information without damaging or destroying the cells.

Quantum technology makes this possible: with the help of entangled photon pairs. Both photons of an entangled photon pair can have independent and different wavelengths. This allows information to be obtained from medical samples with a dose of light that is harmless to the sample, a wavelength that is optimal for analysis. This information can be visualized by a detector on the microscope using a different wavelength, which is ideal for detection.

Using a so-called “single crystal setup”, it has been possible to generate quantum images and videos (see video attached).


Data sheet: Quantum-based imaging systems

Laboratory setup for quantum image generation.
Quantum imaging setup: This robust single-crystal setup enables the examination of an object in the ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) with simultaneous detection in the sensitivity range (VIS) of advanced silicon technology. Central to this quantum technology application is a special crystal that enables the generation of two entangled photons at different wavelengths (UV, VIS).
Image from the Happy Face stencil.
The first test object for quantum imaging with “non-detected light”: an amplitude mask in the shape of a happy face serves as the first test object to demonstrate the scheme of quantum imaging technology. The result can be found in the video above on the operating principle of quantum imaging.