Quantum technologies have the potential to revolutionise science and society by providing solutions to some problems that are beyond the limits achievable with classical systems.
Many of the engineering challenges involved in the design and development of quantum technologies are similar to those faced in high-energy physics, such as extremely precise timing and synchronisation, low‑level radiofrequency (RF) control, stable operation of systems at cryogenic temperatures, ultra-high vacuum systems, and machine learning algorithms.
Measurement & control of quantum-scale systems
CERN personnel have accumulated decades of experience in the design and operation of devices for the precise measurement and control of particles, including for proton beams in CERN’s accelerator complex and for decelerating antiprotons in order to study antimatter.
Expertise in devices such as Penning traps, for the capture, storage, and manipulation of particles with extremely high precision.
Qualifying off-the-shelf components, particularly for operation in harsh environments, such as ultra-high vacuum.
At CERN, particles circle the LHC over 11,000 times per second. This means that components in the accelerator complex require extremely precise timing accuracy and synchronisation. White Rabbit is a protocol based on industrial networking technology, developed at CERN for high-precision particle beam monitoring and control. It recently set a new global standard.
Sub-nanosecond accuracy and picoseconds synchronisation derived from CERN’s demanding requirements.
Digital Low-Level Radio Frequency (LLRF) control systems
Low-Level Radio Frequency (LLRF) control improves RF stability via electronic feedback and feedforward systems. CERN experts have expertise in the design of LLRF controls with powerful digital signal processing, enabling highly‑precise regulation of complex systems.
Design of digital LLRF controls for the delivery of high-stability and high-precision RF.
Design of firmware and software for digital LLRF control systems.
Design of LLRF diagnostic systems.
CERN has expertise in the development & use of laser devices in various applications, including high-precision alignment, and resonance ionisation.
A simple system for generating a structured laser beam that has a non-divergent, high-intensity central beam with a small spot-size.
Laser converter for producing continuously tuneable single-longitudinal mode output.
Unique facilities, including The ISOLDE Radioactive Ion Beam facility and the Resonance Ionization Laser Ion Source (RILIS)
Cryogenic system design, measurement & control
Expertise and facilities to perform state-of-art benchmarking of cryogenic instrumentation, leveraging CERN know-how in heat transfer, refrigeration cycles, low temperature material properties and cryogenic engineering: https://kt.cern/competences/cryogenics
Vacuum system design & control (HV, UHV, XHV)
The LHC is a complex system of interconnected vacuum vessels – under high (HV) to extremely high vacuum (XHV). In order to secure reliable and high-performance operation, CERN experts have developed significant expertise in vacuum systems and related technologies: https://kt.cern/competences/high-and-ultra-high-vacuum-systems and https://kt.cern/technologies/thin-film-coatings-improved-vacuum-performance
CERN’s NEG coatings have, for example, been used to miniaturise the vacuum chambers of magneto-optical traps for portable ultracold quantum technology.
Magnet design and modelling (incl. Superconducting magnets & materials)
CERN has vast, holistic experience with design and modelling of magnets for use in particle accelerators, including permanent and superconducting electromagnets. In addition, CERN uses in-house software tools for fast and accurate simulations: https://kt.cern/competences/superconducting-magnets
CERN is in the unique position of having in one place the diverse set of skills and technologies necessary for such a multidisciplinary endeavour. CERN are interested to speak with companies and academic institutes developing quantum systems to explore how CERN technology might apply.
Any other quantum system that could benefit from application of CERN’s engineering expertise and technological solutions developed through its work in high-energy physics.
A different perspective on your challenge: Based on CERN’s wide-ranging expertise across multiple technology domains related to quantum CERN can take a look at your technical challenges and provide new perspectives & advice;
Co-development: CERN can explore potential collaborative R&D projects to develop new quantum solutions;
Access to unique technology: CERN’s proprietary technologies and know-how can be licensed for use in your quantum systems.