Quantum Photonics in Switzerland

Quantum Photonics

Rigorous treament of light requires full quantum mechanics but engineers use classical wave analysis for propagation and shot noise statistics during detection. This so called "dual nature" of light has been experimentally beautifully demonstrated already 40 years ago with the well known double slit experiment with single photon detection (Hamamatsu Video). This experiment demonstrates, both the wave intereference as well as case-space time entaglement (if a phton is detected at point A, then no other place B will detect a photon at the same time).
This space time entanglement (i.e. that a photon at a certain time can only be detected either here ((A)lice) or there ((B)ob)) is used for quantum cryptography, together with a heralding signal  ("single photon source" is a bad name for it), produced by classical nonlinear interaction) needed to become useful.
This space-time entanglement serves also as the bases for optical quantum computing and it works, in contrast to Photonics for Quantum, just with light/photons alone.

Photonics for Quantum

Laser beams are also often used as a tool for quantum mechanics with particles, as tool for cooling down atoms, for confining atoms in a light trap and also for transmitting data across temperature barriers. Of course this tool has also some limits due the quantum mechanical nature of light/photons but it serves only to make used of quantum mechanical effects of atoms, molecules, etc.

Quantum Photonics and Photonics for Quantum in Switzerland

The field of quantum technology is of strategic importance for Switzerland, although Switzerland is excluded from many relevant European projects. Internationally, very big efforts are made in quantum technologies with funding programs reaching billions (USA, China, Netherlands, UK, Germany, ...). Although more and more Swiss companies are active in the field, the visibility of the Swiss quantum industry is not high and quantum technology may not be considered as a serious vertical application.

For Swissphotonics and its members this is a big challenge. On the other hand, there are a variety of on-going initiatives and activities in Switzerland in the area of Quantum technologies and their applications. We compiled the following summary to allow easier access to informationon these topics:

Quantum organisations/initiatives
  • Swiss Quantum Commission, see here
  • Swissnex, see here
  • Open Quantum Institute, see here
  • Quantum Basel, see here
  • EPFL - Quantum Science and Engineering (QSE) , see here
  • ETHZ - Quantum Center, see here
  • ETHZ - PSI - Quantum Computing Hub, see here
  • FHNW -  Applied quantum computing in Life Sciences, see here
  • FHNW - Quantum information technology and quantum cryptography, see here
  • University of Basel – Basel Quantum Center, see here
  • University of Geneva – Quantum Technologies, see here
  • University of Geneva - Time and Frequency, see here
Companies active in the field See also the summary from Swissnex: Switzerland, A Hub for Quantum

  • Swissnex Quantum Summit (October 14, 2023) , see here
  • Quantum Industry Day 2023 (October 16, 2023) , see here
  • OPTICA industry Summit (November 14-15, 2023) , see here
  • Swiss Quantum Days 2024 (January 31-February 2, 2024), see here
  • Quantum Technology: Potential for Industrial Companies (February 28, 2024), see here
  • Quantum Symposium 2024 (March 18-20, 2024) , see here
  • International Year of Quantum Science and Technology 2025, see here
Funding Opportunities The above overview is certainly not complete. Please do not hesitate to contact us for updates and additional information.

Contact Swissphotonics
Dr. Christian Bosshard 
Managing Director Swissphotonics
+41 405 1826

14 February, 2024, Christian Bosshard

Swissphotonics, Verein Schweizer Laser und Photonik Netz VSLP | Sihleggstrasse 23 | CH-8832 Wollerau | E-Mail | |