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International Conference on Physical Computing (ICOPC23)

ICOPC23, held on the 11th and 12th of September, was a resounding success, showcasing cutting-edge research and fostering international collaboration. Researchers, scientists, and experts from around the world gathered to share their insights, innovations, and discoveries in the field of physical computing.

Save the Date for ICOPC24! Mark your calendars for the next exciting chapter in our conference series, ICOPC24, scheduled for September 2nd to 4th, 2024. We are already looking forward to another remarkable gathering of minds and the opportunity to continue advancing our shared passion for pioneering research and collaboration.

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September 2023: HYBRAIN project meeting in Heidelberg

We are thrilled to share insights from our recent HYBRAIN project meeting, held in Heidelberg on September 18th. The gathering provided an invaluable platform for our team to discuss the project's significant progress and strategic direction. Collaboration and knowledge exchange were at the forefront as the involved researchers shared their findings and explored innovative solutions. We delved into the intricate details of each work package system, emphasizing the critical integration needed to propel us forward into the next reporting period.

July 2023: Spinning milestone project meeting

On July 5th and 6th, the SPINNING project had its half-time milestone meeting. Our contribution was the development of free-standing diamond nanobeam resonators for the silicon vacancy center in diamond. This was a great opportunity to strengthen the bonds between the partners and have exchange about the challenges and methods in diamond photonics during a communal dinner. We are looking forward to further collaborate and offer our diamond chips for further processing to our partners in Ulm.

June 2023: Interview with Shabnam Taheriniya about her work for the Hybrain project

Shabnam was interviewed for the series “Women’s contribution to HYBRAIN” and shares insights on her motivation to work for the HYBRAIN project as a scientist with a background in material physics. She also talks about her expertise on developing photonic convolution processors and working with tunable phase change materials in this inspiring interview. 

June 2023: ArbeitsgruppenInspirationsMesse (AIM) at KIP

Julius, Niccolò, Erik and Shabnam presented the work of our group to interested students. They prepared posters, a video introducing SEM to study in detail the structure of chips we fabricated and even brought a setup with lasers and microscopes for characterizing chips to present the variety of topics and methods covered by our group. If you are interested in joining us please check our open positions or just contact us.  

May 2023: Lin Jin won a Poster Prize at CLEO conference 2023

At this year’s CLEO conference for Laser Science to Photonic Applications held in San José, California, results of our group’s research were presented in 5 talks and 6 posters. Lin’s work about Niobium Nitride Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detector on 4H-Silicon Carbide was awarded a poster price. Congratulations, Lin!

April 2023: Girls‘ Day

We organized an engaging workshop for this year’s Girls' Day on the 27th of April. The girls visited our labs, learned about polarization and optical chip fabrication and were working on our quantum key distribution experiment using augmented reality glasses. At the end, they encrypted and decrypted their own messages using the beforehand learned principles.

March 2023: Group Seminar in Austria

Neuromorphic Computing group members working in Heidelberg and Münster were meeting in Austria for one week full of interesting talks, discussions and challenging hands-on workshops. It was great, especially for all our new PhD students, to learn about other group members‘ research and spend some time with the whole group enjoying the snow.  

February 2023: 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.

November 2022: 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!

September 2022: 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.


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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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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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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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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This project's goal is to realize hybrid quantum photonic memory-circuits on-chip based on long-lived nuclear spins of SiV. Full control of the emitter with the simultaneous possibility to reconfigure the photonic circuit (cavity) where the source is integrated, will be obtained. An efficient interface between light and matter - a hybrid quantum circuit - enables a previously unachieved and simplified control of quantum memory (the array of memory units). This will ensure efficient state preparation, manipulation, and scalable readout state transmission via photons.

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We are developing an innovative optical measurement technology that makes use of the highly accurate detection of individual photons. For this purpose, we build novel quantum detectors. Our single photon detectors are based on an extremely thin wire that becomes superconducting at low temperatures. To determine the timing of an incoming light particle very precisely, we are also working on electronics capable of detecting electrical signals with an accuracy of a few hundred femtoseconds in the form of an integrated electronic circuit using state-of-the-art semiconductor technology.

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In this research project, a detector chip will be developed that contains waveguide-integrated superconducting single photon detectors with different detector properties that can be adapted to different applications. The detector chip is to be designed according to a modular principle: different functions can be combined depending on the application.

The subproject of Heidelberg University includes the research of chip-integrated electronic circuit elements and circuit-integrated coupling and readout elements.

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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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