The Cluster of Excellence QUEST (Centre for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research) started to work in November 2007 at the host institution Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) and at four partner institutions: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (MPI), Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) and Zentrum für angewandte Raumfahrttechnologie und Mikrogravitation (ZARM). Within QUEST new technologies and fundamental theoretic works are being developed in four main areas of research: Quantum Engineering, Quantum Sensors, Space-Time Physics and Enabling Technologies. The new ideas of quantum engineering could enable reaching unprecedented levels of precision in metrology as well as testing fundamental physical laws. QUEST is being funded for 5 years within the Excellence Initiative of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
Three new groups have been established at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig.
The Institute for Experimental Quantum Metrology was established within the joint appointment between the Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) and the PTB. The head of the Institute, Prof. Dr. Piet Schmidt, is a professor at the LUH. The research groups of the Institute focus at the moment on the development and application of novel techniques for precision spectroscopy. The precision spectroscopy will enable one carrying out the experiments on the fundamentals of physics as well as developing new types of optical clocks. The Institute is financed from the resources of both QUEST and PTB. The research activities are very close to those realized at the PTB Division Optics, thus the Institute is associated there.
The Junior Research Group "Quantum Sensors with Cold Ions" is being led by Dr. Tanja Mehlstäubler. The goal of the research is the development of interferometric sensors and many-ion optical clocks. The group is based at the PTB Division Optics, Department 4.4, Time and Frequency, and is financed from the resources of both QUEST and PTB.
The research project "Ultra-stable Lasers and High Performance Cavities" led by Dr. Thomas Kessler aims to develop highly stable laser sources with sub-Hertz linewidth. Such lasers will be applied to enhance the accuracy, stability and reliability of optical clocks. The research group is based at the PTB Division Optics, Department 4.3: Quantum Optics and Unit of Length. The project is financed from the resources of both QUEST and the PTB.