Fraunhofer IAF develops electronic components and systems based on GaN. The image shows a processed GaN wafer. © Fraunhofer IAF

The electronics market is growing constantly and so is the demand for increasingly compact and efficient power electronic systems. The predominant electronic components based on silicon will in foreseeable future no longer be able to meet the increasing industrial requirements.This is why scientists from the university of Freiburg, the Sustainability Center Freiburg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have joined forces in order to explore a new material structure that may be better suited for future power electronics.

An atom is trapped in the resonator between two mirrors (left). A reflected light pulse gets entangled with the atom and may fly freely as a superimposed cat state (right). Bastian Hacker, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ)

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state. In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken experiment is a cat that is simultaneously dead and alive. Since Schrödinger proposed his ‘cat paradox’, physicists have been thinking about ways to create such superposition states experimentally.

Graphic animation of a possible data memory on the atomic scale: A data storage element - consisting of only 6 xenon atoms - is liquefied by a voltage pulse. Universität Basel, Departement of Physics

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Jena doctoral student Benjamin Kintzel looks at a laboratory vessel containing crystals of a novel molecule that may possibly be used in a quantum computer. Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU


Quantum computers could vastly increase the capabilities of IT systems, bringing major changes worldwide. However, there is still a long way to go before such a device can actually be constructed, because it has not yet been possible to transfer existing molecular concepts into technologies in a practical way. This has not kept researchers around the world away from developing and optimising new ideas for individual components. Chemists at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany) have now synthesised a molecule that can perform the function of a computing unit in a quantum computer. They report on their work in the current issue of the research journal ‘Chemical Communications’.