"FUTURAS IN RES" conference: The Quantum Breakthrough

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer

President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer was born on June 27, 1953 in Thuringia, Germany.

He studied mechanical engineering at Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), where he obtained his doctorate in 1984 and his postdoctoral lecturing qualification (Habilitation) in 1991.

After holding various senior positions in industry, he was appointed as a university lecturer at TUD in 1989, subsequently becoming executive director of the Institute for Forming Technology and Machine Tools in 1990. From 2000 he held the position of managing director of the Institute for Machine Tools and Production Processes at Chemnitz University of Technology (TU Chemnitz).

On October 1, 2012, Prof. Neugebauer was appointed the 10th President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

With his profound management and R&D background, he is responsible for research, science policy and international affairs. During his presidency, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft grew by around 10,000 employees and increased its research budget by around one billion euros.

Prof. Neugebauer has been co-chair of the High-Tech Forum and is member of the Steering Committee of the In-novation Dialog, working closely with the Federal Chancellor and other representatives of the federal government, science, industry and society. He is also a member of the Steering Committees of the Industrie 4.0 and Lernende Systeme platforms, which are joint undertakings involving the government, industry, professional associations and the scientific community.

Prof. Neugebauer’s many other distinctions include the Order of Merit of the German State of Saxony and the Officer‘s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Prof. Oliver Ambacher

Executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF

Prof. Oliver Ambacher

Prof. Oliver Ambacher received his first degree in 1989 from Ludwig-Maximilian University and his doctor of natural sciences with distinction in 1993 from the Technical University of Munich. In 1993, he was hired as a research assistant at the Walter Schottky Institute at the Technical University of Munich where he dealt with the growth of gallium nitride and its alloys with the help of molecular beam epitaxy and chemical vapor deposition. In 1995, he focused his group’s research work on the processing of GaN-based electronic and optical components. He was a significant contributor to the implementation of the first UV detectors, surface acoustic wave components, microwave amplifiers and sensors as well as in the research of polarization-induced effects in GaN-based hetero- and quantum structures. In 1998/99, he accepted the Feodor Lynen grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at Cornell University (USA) to deepen his work in the field of AlGaN/GaN transistors for high-frequency power amplifiers.

Following his habilitation in experimental physics in 2000 and his promotion to senior assistant in 2001, he was appointed professor for nanotechnology at the Technical University of Ilmenau the following year. In 2002, he was elected director of the Institute for Solid State Electronics and, two years later, he was appointed director of the Center for Micro and Nanotechnologies.

Since October 2007, Prof. Oliver Ambacher has been a professor at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg and executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF, where he is currently involved in the development of quantum sensors and electronic components for quantum computers.

Prof. Christian Bauckhage

Professor of computer science, University of Bonn and Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS

Prof. Christian Bauckhage

Christian Bauckhage is a professor of computer science (pattern recognition) at the University of Bonn and lead scientist for machine learning at Fraunhofer IAIS.

After successfully completing his doctorate in computer science at Bielefeld University, he first worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Vision Research in Toronto and then as a senior research scientist at Deutsche Telekom Laboratories in Berlin before being appointed to Bonn in 2008.

His experience in the field of data science and artificial intelligence already spans more than 20 years and emphasizes his role as a renowned AI expert and speaker at events, trade fairs and conferences.

Currently, Prof. Bauckhage is primarily engaged in the topic of quantum computing and its potential for solving previously almost unsolvable processes in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Prof. Rainer Blatt

Professor at University of Innsbruck, Co-Founder Alpine Quantum Technologies GmbH

Prof. Rainer Blatt

Prof. Rainer Blatt studied physics and received his PhD at the University of Mainz (Germany). As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked on the laser cooling of atomic beams with John L. Hall (Nobel Prize in 2005) in Boulder (USA) and as a research assistant at the University of Hamburg (Germany) with P. Toschek, where he worked with single trapped ions.

In 1994, he became a professor of physics at the University of Göttingen and in 1995, he accepted a chair position at the Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck, where he works with trapped ions in Paul traps for quantum computers, quantum simulations, and quantum metrology.

Since 2003 he has been the research director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) in Innsbruck (Austria).

Prof. Rainer Blatt is co-founder of Alpine Quantum Technologies GmbH (AQT) in Innsbruck, a company that develops commercial quantum computers. For his quantum information research, he received the Schrödinger Prize of the ÖAW in 2006, the Stern-Gerlach Medal of the German Physical Society (DPG) in 2012, the John Stewart Bell Prize of CQIQC (Toronto) in 2015 and the Micius Quantum Prize in 2018.

Prof. Rainer Blatt is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Prof. Karsten Buse

Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM

Prof. Karsten Buse, Director of Fraunhofer IPM

Prof. Karsten Buse is the director of Fraunhofer IPM. Associated with this position is the professorship for optical systems at the neighboring Department of Microsystems Engineering IMTEK of the University of Freiburg. This has succeeded in establishing a link between university research and the industrial implementation of research results.

Since October 2019, Karsten Buse has been chairman of the Fraunhofer Group for Light & Surfaces and member of the Presidential Council.

Prior to this, the expert in optical technologies was a professor at the University of Bonn, where he held the Heinrich Hertz endowed chair of Deutsche Telekom AG for more than 10 years. During this period, his main areas of research were in optical materials and non-linear optics. Prof. Buse developed new laser sources, optically parametric oscillators as well as optical sensors and filters. In his work, Prof. Buse attaches great importance to suitability for use in specific applications, as his numerous patents show. In addition to this, his cofounding of the Californian company Ondax – where he was a member of the management board for many years – testifies to his enormous experience in industry-related research and development.

Karsten Buse completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Osnabrück. In 1997, after finishing his habilitation thesis (post-doctoral degree) in the field of optical materials, he first went to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, USA as a DFG postdoctoral research fellow. Here he was soon appointed to be a visiting professor. Up until 2007 – at the same time as his activities in Bonn – this was where he pressed ahead with research in the field of optical data storage and ultra-fast optical switches.

Dr. Kees Eijkel

Director of Business Development QuTech

Dr. Kees Eijkel

Kees Eijkel is Director of Business Development at QUTech, a leading research institute in quantum computing and quantum internet, and a cooperation between Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO.

Kees holds an M.Sc. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in technical sciences. He has a long career at the interface of academic research and commercialization, as Commercial Director of the MESA+ Institute of Nanotechnology in Twente, as CEO of the startup system and Science Park in Twente and as Business Development Director for that university. He has served on numerous boards of non-profits in that arena and was the founder of a number of early-stage public and private venture mechanisms.

Prof. Ronald Freund, MBA

Head of the Photonic Networks and Systems Department | Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI

Prof. Ronald Freund, MBA

Prof. Ronald Freund received his Dipl.-Ing. and Dr.-Ing. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Ilmenau, in 1993 and 2002, respectively. In 1997, he co-founded VPI Systems Inc. where he was involved as Chief Technology Officer and consultant. He was responsible for the development of design software for the physical layer of photonic networks as well as national and international research assignments.

Since 1995, he has been with the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI in Berlin where he is currently leading the Photonic Network and Systems department with a focus on research in the fields of network design and modelling, high-capacity submarine and core networks, high-speed access networks as well as satellite and quantum communication systems. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific publications. In 2017, he was appointed Professor for Photonic Communication Systems at the Technical University of Berlin. He holds an MBA from RWTH Aachen.

Dr. Jan Goetz

CEO and co-founder of IQM Germany GmbH

Dr. Jan Goetz, CEO and co-founder of IQM.

Dr. Jan Goetz is a quantum physicist and co-founding CEO of IQM, which builds next-generation quantum computers. IQM has assembled an exceptional team of international quantum experts who develop co-design quantum computers to tackle the hardest challenges of modern society. IQM's breakthroughs include pioneering on-chip components for ultra-fast processors and hardware-efficient solutions for application-specific computers. IQM has raised more than EUR 71 million in funding, including the largest seed investment round in Finnish history.

Dr. Jan Goetz did his doctorate on superconducting quantum circuits at the Technical University of Munich (Germany) and worked as a Marie Curie Fellow in Helsinki (Finland) at Aalto University, where he holds the title of docent. Capital magazine selected him as one of the 40 under 40 in Germany and he has received the prestigious entrepreneurship award from the KAUTE Foundation.

Prof. Christoph Günther

Director of the Institute of Communications and Navigation at the German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Prof. Christoph Günther, Director of the Institute of Communications and Navigation at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Prof. Christoph Günther is the director of the Institute of Communications and Navigation at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and holds a chair at Technische Universität München (TUM). He studied theoretical physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), Switzerland, where he completed his PhD in 1984. He worked on cryptography, coding, communications, and information theory with Asea Brown Boveri, Ascom and Ericsson. At Ascom, he was responsible for the development of the first GSM and GSM/Satellite mobile phones of the company.

Prof. Günther has held his current positions since 2003/2004. The focus of his work at TUM is on precise positioning and sensor fusion for navigation. At DLR, his Institute employs around 200 people who work on four missions: “Global Connectivity”, “Global Navigation”, “Autonomy and Cooperation” as well as “Cybersecurity”. Free space optical links play an important role in the institute’s work. This applies to communications (many firsts, rate record: 13.6 Tbps over 10 km); navigation (Kepler system: time and frequency transfer and ranging); as well as to Quantum Key Distribution (world first mobile experiment, together with LMU in 2011). The overall scope ranges from fundamental work, e.g. on random access, error correction, equalization, parameter/position/attitude/time estimation and jammer suppression to the conception of new systems for aeronautical, maritime, railway or pedestrian communications and navigation as well as to new approaches to planetary exploration (using swarms). An important additional aspect of the work is the test and demonstration of the institute’s proposals involving, satellites, aircraft, ships, trains and pedestrians, as well as their standardization and their broadest possible utilization. Examples of standards relate to aeronautical or maritime communications being standardized at the ICAO and IMO in order to promote their worldwide utilization.

Dr. Anja Haslinger

Head of the Corporate Think Tank, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Dr. Anja Haslinger

As the head of the Fraunhofer Corporate Think Tank, Dr. Anja Haslinger leads an interdisciplinary team responsible for identifying, validating and communicating R&D topics that are of scientific, economic and strategic importance for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The Think Tank has also been involved in identifying the Fraunhofer Strategic Research Fields – among them Quantum Technologies – that lay out the core focus of our research portfolio by addressing the needs and markets that will shape our future. Dr. Haslinger has an academic background in molecular neuroscience and conducted her PhD research at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and the Johannes Gutenberg‐Universität in Mainz. Prior to her position at the Fraunhofer Think Tank, she also held managing positions at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Fraunhofer-Zukunftsstiftung (Fraunhofer Future Foundation).

Prof. Manfred Hauswirth

Executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS

Prof. Manfred Hauswirth

Prof. Manfred Hauswirth is the executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS and a full professor for “Open Distributed Systems” at the Technical University Berlin. Prior to this, he was deputy director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI, now DSI) and a professor at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

His research is on distributed information systems, Internet of Things, data stream processing and Linked Data, semantics and AI. He has won several international awards for his work in these areas and is still active in many scientific and political committees around digitization.

Prof. Fedor Jelezko

Director at the Institute of Quantum Optics, Ulm University, Germany

Prof. Fedor Jelezko

Prof. Fedor Jelezko is director of the Institute of Quantum Optics and fellow of the Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology (IQST) at Ulm University. He studied in Minsk (Belarus) and received his Ph.D. in 1998. After finishing his habilitation in 2010 at Stuttgart University, in 2011 Jelezko was appointed professor of experimental physics in Ulm.  His research interests are at the intersection of fundamental quantum physics and the application of quantum technologies for information processing, communication, sensing, and imaging.


Dr. Wilhelm Kaenders

Founder and member of the executive board of TOPTICA Photonics AG

Dr. Wilhelm Kaenders

Wilhelm Kaenders has directed the growth of TOPTICA from a small start-up into a fully developed international operation, including subsidiaries in the US, Japan and China. With 400 people, the company focuses on the development and production of laser tools for industry and academia and has become one of Europe’s leading high-tech laser and photonics company headquartered near Munich, Germany.

TOPTICA’s core business addresses international industrial and academic research and newly emerging industrial application markets. The scientific field of quantum optics, in particular rapidly emerging cold atom and ion physics activities, have been using the laser instrumentation developed at TOPTICA for many years, as is documented in many hundreds of scientific papers. The company is also active in the field of biophotonics and non-destructive material testing.

Wilhelm received a degree in physics from Bonn University and the International Diploma of the Imperial College, London in 1989. He then finalized a PhD in physics in Hannover in the field of laser-cooled atoms and ions by devising and building magnetic atom optics devices under the guidance of Prof. D. Meschede. In collaboration with the Ludwig-Maximillian University/Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics group of Theodor Hänsch, sophisticated tunable and narrow band diode laser technology was developed during that period. This served as the starting point for the commercial activities of TOPTICA in the following years.

Prof. Kaenders is an active member of OSA (Fellow), SPIE (Fellow), and the German Physical Society (DPG). For the term 2009-2011, Wilhelm served as elected director-at-large on the board of the Optical Society (OSA). Since 2007, he has been a member and since 2009 chairman of the advisory board of “LASER. World of Photonics” – an industrial consulting body to the Messe München, Germany. His scientific work was recognized with the Berthold-Leibinger Innovation Award in 2016 and the OSA Paul-Forman-Excellence Award in 2017.

Prof. Elham Kashefi

Professor of Quantum Computing at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, and Directeur de recherche au CNRS at LIP6 Sorbonne

Prof. Elham Kashefi

Elham Kashefi is professor of quantum computing at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, and Directeur de recherche au CNRS at LIP6 Sorbonne Universite. She co-founded the fields of quantum cloud computing and quantum computing verification, and has pioneered a trans-disciplinary interaction of hybrid quantum-classical solutions from theoretical investigation all the way to actual experimental and industrial commercialization (co-founder of VeriQloud Ltd). She has been awarded several UK, EU and US grants and fellowships for her work in developing applications for quantum computing and communication. Furthermore, she is a senior science team leader of the UK quantum computing and simulation hub and a member of the executive team for the EU quantum internet alliance. In 2021, she received the Margaret Intrapreneur Europe award.

Prof. Raoul Klingner

Director of Research Management and Governance at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Prof. Raoul Klingner

In 2016, Prof. Raoul Klingner was appointed Director of Research, reporting directly to the president of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The Research division oversees all activities of the Fraunhofer institutes in Germany.

In 2010, Prof. Raoul Klingner became the head of the department of International Business Development at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Munich. The department manages the substantial international activities and networks of Fraunhofer abroad and supports institutionalized cooperation with leading foreign research entities in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

As an expert in the internationalization of R&D, he is a member of several advisory boards such as the advisory board of Baden-Württemberg International mbH (since 2014) and the board of the Bavarian University Center for Latin American BAYLAT (since 2012). He graduated at the University of Hamburg, Germany and received his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich, chair of building physics. His professional career started in 2002 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Materials Research and Technology (EMPA) in Dübendorf near Zurich.

Prof. Svenja Knappe

Associate research professor, Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Colorado in Boulder

Prof. Svenja Knappe

Dr. Svenja Knappe obtained her Ph.D. in physics and holds an adjunct associate professorship in the Neuroscience and Psychology department at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

She is also a co-founder of FieldLine Inc., which has developed multi-channel magnetometer systems for biomagnetic measurements.

Knappe’s work focuses on developing miniaturized quantum sensors and systems, with the aim of producing manufacturable, high-performance sensors for large- and small-scale applications. The use of microfabrication technologies and novel packaging processes are a central component in her approach. The interdisciplinary research includes investigations of novel spectroscopic methods, frequency control, and metrology, microfabrication and manufacturing technologies, and magnetic field imaging.

She is also active in the Fraunhofer lighthouse project “QMag” about quantum magnetometry.

Prof. Sir Peter Knight FRS

Senior Research Investigator and Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London

Prof. Sir Peter Knight FRS

Prof. Sir Peter Knight is Senior Research Investigator at Imperial College. He retired in 2010 as Deputy Rector (Research) at Imperial. He was knighted in 2005 for his work in optical physics.

Prof. Sir Peter Knight was President of the Optical Society of America in 2004 and President of the Institute of Physics from 2011-2013. He is the editor of Contemporary Physics, Chair of the UK National Quantum Technology Programme Strategy Advisory Board and Chair of the Quantum Metrology Institute at the National Physical Laboratory.

He was Chair of the UK Defence Scientific Advisory Council until 2010 and remains a UK Government science advisor. His research centers on quantum optics and quantum technology. He has won the Thomas Young Medal and the Glazebrook Medal of the Institute of Physics, the Ives Medal and the Walther Medal and Prize of the OSA, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society and the Faraday Prize of the IET.

Dr. Frank Kühnemann

Group manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM

Dr. Frank Kühnemann, Group Manager “Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Sensing” at Fraunhofer IPM

Dr. Frank Kühnemann is the group manager for “Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Sensing” at Fraunhofer IPM. In addition, he teaches as a private lecturer at the Institute of Physics, Freiburg University.

The main theme of his professional career is “infrared laser spectroscopy for analytical purposes” including the development of laser sources and spectroscopic techniques as well as interdisciplinary application studies in fields like environmental sensing and life sciences.

Before joining Fraunhofer IPM in 2011, he gained extensive experience in research and teaching at the University of Chicago, Bonn University and the German University in Cairo.

At Fraunhofer IPM, one of his responsibilities is the development of the new area “Quantum sensing” that aims at utilizing quantum states of photons and atoms for sensing applications, including magnetometry and infrared metrology. Since 2018, he has been co-chair of the international annual workshop series “Sensing with quantum light.”

Prof. Wolfgang Lechner

Professor at the University of Innsbruck and co-founder CEO of ParityQC GmbH

Prof. Wolfgang Lechner

Wolfgang Lechner studied physics at the University of Vienna, where he received his PhD in the field of theoretical physics in 2009. After a PostDoc at the University of Amsterdam, he moved to the IQOQI of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck (2012) where he worked in the group of Prof. Peter Zoller. In 2016, he became an assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck. With his habilitation at the University of Innsbruck in 2019, he became a tenured professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. Prof. Lechner develops novel methods for quantum simulation and quantum computing and is best known for the invention of the LHZ (Lechner-Hauke-Zoller) quantum computing architecture.  

Wolfgang Lechner founded ParityQC GmbH in 2019 together with Magdalena Hauser, the University of Innsbruck and the Academy of Sciences. The company develops blueprints for quantum computers with a focus on disruptive applications such as solving optimization problems and machine learning.  

He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Loschmidt Prize (2011), Wallnöfer Prize (2015), Thirring Prize (2017), START Prize (2017), the Houska Prize (2019) and the Research Faculty Award by Google (2020). ParityQC recently received the Phönix Award and was named one of the most promising spin-offs by Nature. Wolfgang Lechner was among the 32 inventors who are building a better future as named by the magazine Wired. Prof. Lechner has published more than 40 papers, is frequently an invited speaker at international conferences and has filed 7 patents in the field of quantum computing. 

Dr. Peter Leibinger

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of TRUMPF | Vice Chairman of the Group Management Board

Dr. Peter Leibinger, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of TRUMPF and Vice Chairman of the Group Management Board.

Dr. Peter Leibinger is strongly committed to the promotion of research and innovation. For example, he has been appointed co-chairman of an expert advisory committee to the German government on how to organize research on quantum computing.

He is Chairman of the Board of SPRIN-D, a government agency committed to promoting disruptive innovation.

Dr. Peter Leibinger has been a member of the advisory board for Deutsche Private Equity (DPE) since 2018.

He also performs many honorary functions. Peter Leibinger was born in 1967 in Stuttgart (Germany). He studied mechanical engineering at the RWTH University in Aachen (Germany).

Prof. Kristel Michielsen

Head of the Research Group Quantum Information Processing, Head of JUNIQ | Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Prof. Kristel Michielsen

Prof. Kristel Michielsen, a computational physicist, received her PhD from the University of Groningen in 1993. Since 2009, she has been leading the research group Quantum Information Processing (QIP) at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) and is also Professor QIP at RWTH Aachen University. Kristel Michielsen and her research group have ample experience in performing large-scale simulations of quantum computers and annealers as well as in benchmarking and studying prototype applications for this new compute technology. Together with Prof. Lippert, she is building up the quantum computer user facility JUNIQ at the JSC.

Dr. Mathieu Munsch

CEO and co-founder of Qnami AG

Dr. Mathieu Munsch, co-founder and CEO of Qnami AG.

Dr. Mathieu Munsch is a co-founder and the CEO of Qnami. He holds an engineering degree from the ENS Grenoble INP and a doctorate from the Université Grenoble Alpes. Dr. Munsch worked as a scientist for the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the University of Basel, where he developed new sources of quantum light and lasers. He is the author of over 15 papers in high profile publications such as Nature and the Physical Review. In 2017, Dr. Munsch created Qnami with the ambition to become a leader in the quantum sensor market. He is actively involved in the European Quantum Flagship program and the creation of a European quantum ecosystem.

Prof. Miles Padgett

Royal Society research professor and Kelvin Chair of Natural Philosophy University of Glasgow

Prof. Miles Padgett

Miles Padgett is a Royal Society research professor and also holds the Kelvin Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He leads an optics research team covering a wide spectrum from blue-sky research to applied commercial development, funded by a combination of government, charity and industry.

His research team covers all things optical, from the basic ways in which light behaves as it pushes and twists the world around us to the application of new optical techniques in imaging and sensing systems. 

He has won a number of national and international prizes including, in 2019, the Rumford Medal of the Royal Society. He is currently the principal investigator of QuantIC, the UK's centre of excellence for research, development and innovation in quantum enhanced imaging, bringing together eight universities with more than 40 industry partners.

Marco Paini

Technology Partnerships Director, Europe at Rigetti

Marco Paini

Marco Paini is the Technology Partnerships Director, Europe at Rigetti. He currently manages the program to build the first commercial quantum computer in the UK – a collaboration of Rigetti, Oxford Instruments, Phasecraft, the University of Edinburgh and Standard Chartered, sponsored by Innovate UK. Marco Paini previously led quantum computing applications portfolio development of QxBranch, a quantum computing software company acquired by Rigetti in 2019. Prior to QxBranch, Marco Paini spent more than eighteen years with Accenture, where he held several roles in technology. In the last part of his career with Accenture, he oversaw the AI ecosystem and the development of the quantum computing offering for the Accenture UKI Financial Services Technology Advisory practice. Marco Paini studied physics at the University of Pavia, where he collaborated with the Quantum Information Theory Group of the University of Pavia.

Dr. Nico Piatkowski

Senior Scientist at Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS

Dr. Nico Piatkowski

Dr. Nico Piatkowski studied computer science and economics at TU Dortmund University.

In 2018, he received his doctorate "summa cum laude" on the topic of "Exponential Families on Resource-Constrained Systems." He received the dissertation award of TU Dortmund University for his dissertation.

He is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Machine Learning Competence Center Rhine-Ruhr (ML2R) and coordinates the research focus "Machine Learning on Quantum Computers".



Dr. Jan Rhensius

CEO and founder of QZabre

Dr. Jan Rhensius

Jan Rhensius is specialized in nanotechnology and x-ray microscopy. His research experience was developed across multiple prestigious research institutes such as ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore and the Paul Sherrer Institute.

During his post-doctoral work at ETH, Dr. Rhensius combined his skills in fabrication and magnetic imaging to engineer high performance NV scanning probes. In 2018, Dr. Rhensius founded QZabre where he currently leads the development of the NV-based scanning probes.

Prof. Heike Riel

IBM Fellow, Director IoT Technology and Solutions IBM Research, Zürich

Prof. Heike Riel

Prof. Heike Riel is a distinguished scientist known for advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences and is an IBM Fellow and department head of Science & Technology at IBM Research. She is responsible for leading the research agenda of the Science & Technology department with the aim to create scientific and technological breakthroughs in quantum computing and technologies, artificial intelligence, nanoscience and nanotechnology, precision diagnostics and smart system integration. Prof. Riel is a distinguished expert in nanotechnology and nanosciences and focuses her research on advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences. Her research has contributed to advancements in OLED display technology, molecular electronics and semiconductor nanoscale materials and devices. Her recent research interests include topological states of compound semiconductor nanowires for quantum information processing. 

In 2013, Heike Riel was named an IBM Fellow, the company's highest technical distinction, and inducted into IBM’s Academy of Technology. She studied physics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany) and received a PhD from the University of Bayreuth (Germany) in 2003 for her work on optimizing multilayer organic light-emitting devices performed at IBM Research. In 2011, Heike graduated with an MBA from Henley Business School.

Ph.D., Prof. Vahid Sandoghdar

Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light

Ph.D., Prof. Vahid Sandoghdar

Ph.D., Prof. Vahid Sandoghdar is a pioneer in the field of Nano-Optics, which merges various methods and research areas to investigate fundamental issues in the interaction between light and matter at the nanometer scale.

His current research ranges from quantum optics, plasmonics and ultrahigh resolution microscopy to nanobiophysics. Sandoghdar obtained his bachelor’s in physics from the University of California at Davis in 1987 and doctorate in physics from Yale University in 1993. After a postdoctoral stay at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, he moved to the University of Konstanz in Germany where he started a new line of research to combine single molecule spectroscopy, scanning probe microscopy and quantum optics. In 2001, he accepted a chair at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2011, he became the director of the newly established Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen as well as the Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

Ph.D., Prof. Vahid Sandoghdar is the founder of the new Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin, a joint research center that aims to address questions in fundamental medical research by using physical and mathematical methodologies.

Bernhard Sang

Principal expert for optical instruments and missions at OHB System AG

Bernhard Sang

Bernhard Sang is a physicist and electrical engineer at OHB System AG, one of the three major satellite system prime contractors in Europe. He has a quantum physics background from his education, where he worked on the successful creation of Bose Einstein Condensates in the late 1990s with the G. Rempes group at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics. He is currently one of two principal experts at OHB reporting to the CTO with strong contributions to the definition of the company’s technical strategy and with the goal of making new technologies applicable for space systems. Furthermore, he is a chief engineer for the development of optical instrumentation and the definition of optical missions for space.

Bernhard Sang has a degree in physics (University of Konstanz) and one in electrical engineering (Polytechnic Konstanz). For over 20 years he has worked in leading roles on the development of optical instrumentation, starting in commercial photofinishing (AGFA Gevaert) and moving on to various types of space-based optical systems for DLR and ESA (OHB). He is one of the founders of the Quantum Working Group at OHB, which is focused on the application of quantum technologies in the context of space missions. He has also contributed to the definition of Europe’s move into the realization of quantum communication systems via his consultancy to the EC. This is with respect to the definition of the EuroQCI and its space component SAGA as well as respective early studies on the system architecture.

Dr. Torsten Siebert

Coordinator & chief scientific advisor, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Dr. Torsten Siebert

Dr. Torsten Siebert is the coordinator & chief scientific advisor for the quantum technologies program at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. He completed his post-doctoral dissertation (habilitation) in nonlinear optics and coherent control of light-matter interactions at the Freie Universität Berlin.

His academic training includes post-doctoral research at the Max Born Institute Berlin, the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University and the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. 

Dr. Nikolay Tcholtchev

Senior researcher and project manager at the SQC Competence Center in the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS

Dr. Nikolay Tcholtchev

Nikolay Tcholtchev holds a Ph.D. in engineering and a diploma in computer science from the Berlin University of Technology. He is currently working for the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS where he leads and participates in projects related to the following areas: smart cities (open urban platforms), network and systems management, cybersecurity, autonomic communications, virtual und softwarized networks and testbeds, VoIP emergency communication (NG112), blockchain, smart energy, firewall/IDS/IPS, model checking, IPv4/6, IoT, artificial intelligence, model-based testing and testing for security purposes.

Furthermore, his current tasks include technical project management (industrial projects, H2020, EU-FP6/FP7 ...) and reporting (H2020, EU-FP7, industrial projects) as well as project acquisition (H2020, BMBF, industrial projects).

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann

Executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann

Prof. Andreas Tünnermann is executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and director of the Institute for Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller University. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Helmholtz Institute in Jena. His path led Andreas Tünnermann from his doctorate and post-doctorate at the University of Hanover to the management of the "Research and Development" department at the Laser Center Hanover and, finally, to the professorship for applied physics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Today, the physicist leads one of the most creative and productive research groups in the field of photonics in the world. His research interests focus on fundamental principles as well as sophisticated technical aspects related to the generation and control of light. Recent research addresses the challenges of the second quantum revolution. Andreas Tuennermann is member of numerous national and international boards and committees and his research activities have been awarded with various prizes.

Grazia Vittadini

Special Adviser and former CTO of Airbus

Grazia Vittadini

Grazia Vittadini is a special adviser and former CTO of Airbus.

Throughout her nearly 20-year career at Airbus, she covered a broad range of operations from commercial aircraft, defense and space to technology and innovation across the company. She was the first woman to be appointed to the Airbus Executive Committee.

Grazia has always led transnational and diverse teams. Beyond her expertise in future mobility and sustainable aerospace, she has maintained a forward-thinking interdisciplinary approach, promoting innovation through fields like AI and quantum computing.

Grazia is a member of the Siemens Supervisory Board, the jury panel of the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung and the Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. She also serves as a board member at the German Center for Mobility of the Future (DZM) as well as the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology of Politecnico di Milano (DAER).

Born in Italy, Grazia grew up between Milan and the USA. She has her private pilot’s license and graduated in aeronautical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, where she specialized in aerodynamics.

Dr. Nino Walenta

Project team leader for Photonic Quantum Technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

Dr. Nino Walenta

Dr. Nino Walenta has 15 years of experience in academic and industrial research and the development of secure Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network systems and their components. Prior to joining Fraunhofer HHI in Berlin as project team leader for quantum technologies in December 2019, he worked as a principle research scientist for quantum technologies at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus (Ohio), where one of his focus activities was leading the development of security-certifiable QKD Trusted Node network systems. In 2016, he joined the R&D team of ID Quantique in Geneva (Switzerland) as an QKD architect and project manager, where he was responsible for the development of the company's next generation commercial QKD network systems. In his current role, he is Fraunhofer HHI's project leader for the German "QuNet" project for developing systems for a secure nationwide government agency QKD network.

Prof. Harald Weinfurter

Head of Faculty of Physics at LMU Munich

Prof. Harald Weinfurter

After his Ph.D. at the TU Vienna, Harald Weinfurter joined the Hahn-Meitner Institute, Berlin, and the RISØ research institute, Denmark, as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1991, he started experiments on the foundations of quantum physics and quantum information in the group of Anton Zeilinger at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. He finished his habilitation on quantum interferometry in 1996. Since 1999, he and his group at the LMU Munich have been working on a series of experiments. These range from studies on multi-particle entanglement, loophole free Bell-tests of local realism, quantum logic gates all the way to applications of quantum communication such as entangling atomic quantum memories over tens of kilometers and developing integrated optics for quantum key distribution.


Prof. Jörg Wrachtrup

Director, 3rd Institute of Physics, University of Stuttgart

Prof. Jörg Wrachtrup

Prof. Joerg Wrachtrup has been professor and director of the 3rd Institute of Physics since 2000 and the Center for Applied Quantum Technology, University of Stuttgart since 2016 as well as a Max Planck fellow at the MPI for Solid State Research Stuttgart. He pioneered the field of single spin physics by initiating the very first single electron and subsequently the first single nuclear spins experiments. By combining optics and spin resonance, he discovered defects in insulators, most notably defects in diamonds, as a valuable system for quantum information processing in a novel type of quantum sensor for electric and magnetic fields. He and his group pioneered the application of these novel sensor techniques. His current research interest is geared towards the application of quantum enhanced sensing in biomedical as well as material sciences.

Prof. Wrachtrup has published more than 300 papers in refereed journals with numerous nature and science papers, plus reviews in both over the past years. In 2011 and 2017, he was awarded two Advanced Research Grants of the European Research Council; he received the Leibniz Price of the German Science Foundation in 2002, the Bruker Prize in 2013 and the Max Planck Research Award in 2014. The applicant was awarded the Europhysics Prize Award of the European Physical Society and the Gold medal of the International Society for Electron Spin Resonance in 2020. He is a member of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Science and has continuously been listed as a “Highly Cited Researcher” since 2014.

Prof. Hugo Zbinden

Professor at the University of Geneva, co-founder of ID Quantique

Prof. Hugo Zbinden

Hugo Zbinden was born in Bern and studied physics at the University of Bern. He has a master in climate physics and a Ph.D. on rare-earth solid-state lasers.

He is the leader of the Quantum Technology Group at the University of Geneva. His research has spanned various areas from optical sensors, single photon detectors, quantum communication and the foundations of quantum mechanics. He is the coordinator of the European Quantum Flagship project QRANGE on quantum random number generators.

In 2001, Hugo Zbinden co-founded ID Quantique, one of the first companies in the field of quantum technologies.

Besides the activities around quantum physics, he has been member of the parliament of the Canton Geneva and, since 2015, on the board of the Geneva utility “Services Industriel de Genève”.