Exhibitors & Products
Events & Speakers

Almost five years ago, a report from Silicon Valley stood out from the multitude of technological success stories: In a Google research lab, developers had tested a quantum processor that had solved a special computing task significantly faster than classic supercomputers. "Google's quantum computer proves quantum superiority" - the headline spanned the globe and put the spotlight on a field of research that for a long time was only of interest to experts.

On the eve of the second quantum revolution

Industry experts were not really surprised by this breakthrough - just as at HANNOVER MESSE, new quantum technologies have long been regarded as key technologies of the 21st century in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Engineers, like many investors, are expecting a second quantum revolution - with the potential to profoundly change not only the economy, but society as a whole. Comparable to the consequences of technological achievements after the birth of quantum mechanics. In the 1950s and 60s, they laid the foundations for computer technology and fibre optic internet, global networking and digitalization with the transistor and laser. The pioneers of the second quantum revolution are pursuing similar goals and want to renew entire branches of industry with pioneering developments. But which quantum technology approaches are currently in the spotlight?

Quantum computers - theoretically far superior to classic supercomputers

Quantum computers use quantum physical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to solve computing tasks in a highly parallel manner. This results in extraordinary speed advantages that make quantum computers far superior to any classical supercomputer, especially for specific problems. Instead of using data bits with a value of either 0 or 1, quantum computers calculate with quantum bits, usually abbreviated to qubits, which have much more to offer: They are atomic systems in a kind of suspended state that can simultaneously represent the states 0 or 1 as well as all values in between, analogous to Schrödinger's cat in the famous thought experiment, which can be considered dead and alive at the same time - as long as no certainty is obtained. While a PC with 10 bits can only encode one of 1024 values, a quantum computer with 10 qubits can process all these values simultaneously. A register with 250 qubits should theoretically be able to store more numbers than there are atoms in the universe.

Scalability of the hardware is crucial

The pioneers of quantum computer technology are taking different paths to realize the elementary information units of quantum computers. Companies such as Google, IBM, Intel and the Canadian company D-Wave, for example, use deep-frozen superconducting current loops as qubits, while quantum researchers at the University of Innsbruck use floating atoms that they manipulate with laser light. Microsoft, for example, relies on artificial atoms in semiconductor chips. Which hardware will prevail has not yet been decided and will mainly depend on how well it can be scaled. The current quantum processors with a few dozen to hundreds of qubits are not yet ready for a revolution. According to experts, processors with millions of qubits are needed for breakthrough quantum power. However, scaling is progressing rapidly and quantum computers could outperform conventional electronic brains within ten years.

Quantum communication - certainly a topic for the future

Quantum physics also serves as the basis for absolutely tap-proof communication channels. Commercial quantum cryptography systems, which banks, authorities, companies and secret services use to exchange confidential information, have been a reality for around 15 years. Researchers in many places are currently working on establishing regional quantum networks for secure communication and the networking of future quantum computers. China is considered a global pioneer in this field, where a 2,000-kilometre fiber optic network for quantum cryptography was put into operation in 2017. China is also a leader in satellite-based quantum communication. In 2017, the Chinese quantum satellite Micius transmitted the world's first quantum cryptographically secured video conference between Beijing and Vienna. The potential of this world premiere quickly became clear: a global quantum internet. One of the key components for this are so-called quantum repeaters, which make it possible to send quantum information in fiber optic cables over long distances. Experts consider quantum repeaters to be the holy grail of quantum communication. Their development is being driven forward intensively and is also being funded with millions in taxpayers' money in Germany and Europe.

Quantum simulators - deep insights into the behavior of complex multi-particle systems

Quantum simulators are considered less versatile than universal quantum computers. However, they allow basic researchers and materials scientists to gain deep insights into the behavior of complex multi-particle systems such as gases, liquids and solids. Due to the so-called quantum nature of atomic particles, the computational effort required to model such systems increases exponentially with conventional computers. Conventional supercomputers are therefore usually overwhelmed if they are to simulate the interaction of just a few dozen quantum particles in detail. In 1982, US Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman therefore proposed simulating the essential characteristics of complex multi-particle systems with quantum systems that could be manipulated in a targeted manner. Since then, the rapidly growing research field of quantum simulations has developed from this. Deep-frozen atoms are immobilized - like eggs in a carton - in light grids made of laser beams. By specifically manipulating the distances and interactions within these optical crystals, it should be possible to clarify important questions in materials research, such as the development of magnetism and electrical conductivity at an atomic level.

Quantum sensors - registering magnetic and gravitational fields more precisely than ever before

The precise control of quantum systems at the atomic level, which many experts consider to be the real driving force behind the second quantum revolution, also opens up new possibilities for measurement technology. Using quantum effects, highly sensitive sensors can be realized that register magnetic and gravitational fields more precisely than ever before. Timepieces that are even more precise than the best atomic clocks are also being developed. Among other things, they should significantly increase the accuracy of satellite navigation systems.

What specific applications are already available today?

A few second-generation quantum technologies are already commercially available. Experts expect broad market penetration within the next ten years. Many companies, such as car manufacturers BMW and Volkswagen, are preparing for this; years ago, they began examining possible areas of application for future quantum computers and developing the first quantum algorithms that ran on the first rudimentary quantum processors. At present, these test procedures are not yet delivering any realizable benefits to companies, but the potential is clearly huge. According to experts, quantum computers could provide decisive advantages in a few years' time, particularly for exponentially scaling optimization tasks in industrial production and logistics. Quantum computers could also provide new dimensions of performance in the simulation of complex materials and chemical processes, for example to develop more powerful batteries or fuel cells, as well as in risk analysis and machine learning.

How far along are Europe, America and Asia?

As the race for the future technologies of quantum physics is of the utmost importance, the EU Commission launched a technology offensive in 2018 with the Quantum Flagship project, which is being funded with several billion euros over ten years. There are also similar initiatives in the USA, Canada, Japan and China to commercialize disruptive quantum innovations. The German government is funding quantum technologies and quantum computing with two billion euros as part of its Economic Stimulus and Future Pact. A committee of experts from industry and science set up for this purpose has drawn up a corresponding "Quantum Computing Roadmap".

Enhancing competitiveness

Two years ago, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research launched a new research program for quantum systems in order to make Germany, together with Europe, a world leader in quantum computing and quantum sensor technology over the next ten years. The practical development and applications of quantum technologies and quantum computing are being funded with 878 million euros. The focus is on the development of a German quantum computer as well as corresponding software and applications.

Where can quantum technology be found at HANNOVER MESSE 2024?

In addition to dedicated quantum specialists such as Stuttgart-based Q.ANT GmbH (Hall 2, Stand 31) and Münster-based Pixel Photonics GmbH (Hall 2, Stand A02/9), one regionally based exhibitor in particular is dedicated to the topic: Quantum Valley Lower Saxony (QVLS - Hall 2, Stand A02/5) is a non-profit association that links science, industry and politics with the aim of establishing and expanding a regional ecosystem with an international impact for quantum technologies. Analogous to the combination of science, industry and politics, the association is involved in research, technology transfer and education and links the various players. At HANNOVER MESSE 2024, the QVLS will present successes and milestones from these areas and take the opportunity to further expand its network.

Construction of a Lower Saxony quantum computer as a QVLS lighthouse project

The lighthouse project of the QVLS is the construction of a quantum computer in Lower Saxony based on trapped ions. At HANNOVER MESSE 2024, among other things, chips will be presented on which calculations have been carried out using ions. A total of around 400 scientists are involved in this project, working on quantum research and the necessary key technologies. Leibniz Universität Hannover, Technische Universität Braunschweig and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt are involved. Together with partners from industry, more than 170 million euros in funding for quantum technology projects has been raised to date. Over the next 10 years, up to 1.5 billion euros are to flow into the future field of quantum technologies in the Hannover-Braunschweig region alone. Successful technology transfer is needed to ensure that the research strength of the Hannover-Braunschweig region is also reflected in industrial value creation. QVLS has set up two successful models for this, which will also be a topic at HANNOVER MESSE.

Funding for quantum technology start-ups

The high-tech incubator QVLS-HTI recently opened Lower Saxony's new location for quantum technology transfer in the former Rollei factories in Braunschweig. Here, quantum technology start-ups receive funding as well as office and laboratory space to develop their business models. At HANNOVER MESSE 2024, QVLS-HTI start-ups will present their product developments and visions for the first time.

Efficient technology matchmaking

In the QVLS-iLabs, QVLS brings together players from science and industry for technology matchmaking and then creates the conditions for jointly implementing innovative product developments. HANNOVER MESSE 2024 will serve as preparation for the next matchmaking workshop.

Science Center phaeno presents augmented reality exhibit

As in so many areas, a growing quantum technology ecosystem also requires trained specialists. The QVLS is involved at all levels of the education system in order to impart the know-how of the quantum world from physics to the general public. At HANNOVER MESSE 2024, for example, an interactive augmented reality exhibit on quantum physics will be presented, which was developed together with the Science Center phaeno in Wolfsburg.

Wide range of offers for quantum technology training

QVLS will also be presenting VR applications that are used in schools or in newly established master's degree courses on quantum technologies in Braunschweig and Hanover, for example. The QTIndu consortium, which develops and offers quantum technology training for specialists and managers, will also be represented at the trade fair. QVLS acts as a network partner here, providing industry requirements for course development and at the same time passing on the courses to suitable partners.