Even though this is not the first space project in which our researchers are involved, it is very special: Here, not individual components are supplied, but the heart of the mission itself comes from us!
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is funding a satellite mission (QUICK3 mission) to conduct various types of quantum experiments in gravity-free space. For this purpose, the single photon source developed by Dr. Tobias Vogl is to be made space-qualified and thus become the basis for further experiments. First, of course, the source itself would be tested in weightlessness. Another aim is to find out whether the quanta can be stored - which is, of course, important for quantum communication and quantum computing.
However, the experiments with the photon source itself are also extraordinary: on board the satellite is a quantum interferometer which the researchers are using to search for physics beyond the Standard Model. Our scientific understanding of elementary particles is based on a Standard Model, which makes a number of assumptions. One of these assumptions concerns the mathematical structure of the quantum mechanical measurement process: Born's rule (named after Max Born), which links the probability distribution for the location of quantum objects to the wave function. On Earth, these predictions have been experimentally verified - now the experiment will be repeated in microgravity and reveal possible influences of gravity.
Accordingly, one can be curious about the results of this mission - if everything goes according to plan, it will start in 2024!
This project is being prepared jointly with scientists from the TU Berlin and the Leibniz Institute of Highest Frequency Technology (Ferdinand Braun Institute), as well as partners in England, Italy and Singapore. This was of course prepared in advance by extensive preparatory work, during which the world record in precision for potential deviations from Born's rule was also measured.
If you want to be part of this exciting project, you are welcome to apply directly to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) - we are still looking for PhD students and scientists! The requirements can be found here.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!