Some thoughts on the tower of Babel

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by Johannes Borregaard 

I am not particularly schooled in religious scripture of any kind. Nonetheless, one story that I vaguely remember having come across during my school years is the story of the tower of Babel from the Old Testament. The setting of the story (as far as I remember) is that all mankind speak the same language. As a result, they are able to join forces trying to build a tower so high that it reaches the heavens. The deity however prevents this by giving them different languages, so they no longer understand each other and scatters them all over the world.

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A nightly physics adventure

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” WA R N I N G : 5 FAU LT S F O U N D ! “

by Niels Bultink

It was around 1:00 AM on a cold winter night in 2019 when I stepped out of a bar in the historic center of Delft. Time to go home, after celebrating Suzanne van Dam’s successful PhD defense. Evenings like these remind me why science is such a great endeavour. People might be working long hours to reach only tiny steps. But there is a team of people around you that understands the struggle. And, when those tiny steps lead to a big one, or occasionally even a breakthrough, celebration comes with all sorts of weird traditions. In short, it was an evening with a warm QuTech family feeling. For me personally it was also a nice change of scenery. Over the months prior, I had been working intensely on the final experiment of this thesis. In particular this week, I was finetuning day-in day-out to hunt for data sets that were fit for publication. Although the efforts of many had been finally coming together for quite some time: from design, to fabrication, to the integration of the setup; it is this final stage of an experiment that can make or break years of struggle for the whole team.
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Kavli Warriors

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by Christian Möhle

In recent days my daily walk to the coffee machine has become ever more painful as Guan would spot me and start to yell at me (with a big smile in his face): “Christian, write your blog post!”. So here I am, finally finding some time to write my first blog post ever. It won’t be about qubits or any other physics topic, but rather about our glorious football team, the Kavli Warriors. Continue reading Kavli Warriors

Three ways to enjoy yourselves at the QuTech Uitje

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by Arian Stolk

CAUTION: This post will NOT contain any physics (ignoring any possible corny physics jokes)! That is right, no discussions about entanglement, (qu)-bits and/or crazy science in the coming story. It is not that I do not like to talk about these things, on the contrary. Yet, I thought it would be an interesting idea to talk about a more none-science-y aspect of QuTech. And I would like to do it using a yearly recurring event: the QuTech Uitje.

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A word from an editor emeritus and new blog team members!

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With QuTech expanding from a quantum transport research group to a large institute focusing on quantum computers, the number of people walking around in the hallways expands. It makes you almost forget that there are also people leaving. But as the seasons go by, PhD students at QuTech come and go. It gives QuTech its characteristic dynamic character. But it also brings sadness every time we have to wave someone goodbye. And this is exactly what this blogpost is about. Since editorial duties for this blog are performed on a volunteer basis by PhD students (in what little remains of their free time), this means that any editor’s tenure is inherently limited by his or her PhD track. Therefore, with some sadness, we have to say goodbye to Jonas, the founding father of the QuTech blog and involved from the very start. He finished his PhD and moved to Amsterdam. He was an amazing and creative member of the team and we would like to thank him for the time he has spent making this blog an inspirational place for quantum computing.

But of course he wouldn’t leave without equally capable replacement. And, since QuTech is growing, we also extended the editorial team. That is why we proudly announce the two newest team members, Tim and Matteo. Actually Tim and Matteo have been active on the blog for a while. So the time is definitely there for a more official introduction. Continue reading A word from an editor emeritus and new blog team members!

Diary of an international student at QuTech

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by David Maier


QuTech not only offers a wide range of interesting research, but also a diverse group of employees from numerous countries around the world. As a student from the far away country of Germany I was very curious if I would be able to fit in and overcome the cultural differences. Four months ago I came to Delft for my master’s project. In this little piece I would like to tell you from a humorous perspective about some of the challenges I faced as an international student coming to Delft and how you can overcome them too.

Disclaimer: this text contains irony.
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European affairs

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by Barbara Terhal


Recently I had to deal with some bureaucratic business involving a European grant. It concerned the transfer of this grant from one academic institution to another in the form of an amendment.
The transfer had to take place through the interaction of a variety of people, project managers, scientists, upper- and lower-level secretaries, in a EU web portal.
The portal is somewhat like a virtual castle in which one occasionally discovers a door to a hidden room. Once open, the hidden room turns out to give access to new functions and role play, inviting to dress-up and bal masqué, going far beyond the promise of the

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Once upon a time in the Netherlands …

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by Freeke Heijman

Usually this blog is about research topics. When I was asked to write an item on the political aspects of quantum, I was excited but also a bit hesitant: would this parallel universe, in which politicians, executives and government officials rule the world, be interesting to the research community? What could I share without breaking rules of confidentiality while keeping some of the juicy details that make life interesting? How could I bridge the gap between these two worlds that are so completely different in their values, methods and people?

I decided to take up the challenge. After all, these dilemmas are the very same ones people with two legs in two different communities have to deal with every day. It is about making an effort to understand and find your way in different cultures and trying to get across some glimpse of these worlds to the people you work with on both ends. The last part almost feels like a mission impossible to me – the more reason to give it a shot in this blog! Continue reading Once upon a time in the Netherlands …

QuTech interview: Prof. Wolfgang Tittel

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It is a cold Monday afternoon when we have our appointment with Wolfgang Tittel, professor in physics and specialized in photon entanglement, quantum teleportation, and quantum memory. As we expect from a busy professor, he is still in another meeting when we arrive, so we decide to wait two meters outside his door. When we go and check if he’s almost done with this other meeting, his office suddenly appears deserted. In a vivid demonstration of his expertise, he seems to have teleported away from his office…

Luckily, he reappears quickly and lets us into his spacious office. One wall is completely covered by a large whiteboard, covered in scribbled equations and diagrams. Clear signs of occupation by a physics professor.  Professor Tittel himself welcomes us with a smile, clearly relishing the opportunity to talk about his work. What follows is an interview with professor Tittel, shortened and lightly edited for clarity.

What type of research do you do?

My research lies in the framework of the quantum internet. More precisely, it is about quantum key distribution (QKD) and the creation of quantum key distribution systems over very long links. This requires quantum repeaters. To create the quantum internet, we send photons down an optical fiber, but, just as in standard telecommunication, these photons get lost at some point. In standard telecommunication, you can use amplifiers to boost the signal level, but for quantum internet this doesn’t work because of the no-cloning theorem. Instead, we can use a so-called quantum repeater.

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A Quantum Internet made of Diamonds

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How cool is that? A Quantum Internet. Made of Diamonds.

by Matteo Pompili

We are constantly connected to Internet. With our computers, our smartphones, our cars, our fridges (mine is not, yet, but you get the idea). In its very first days, the Internet was a very rudimentary, yet revolutionary, connection between computers [1]. It enabled one computer on the network to send messages to any other computer on the network, whether it was directly connected to it (that is, with a cable) or not. Some of the computers on the network acted as routing nodes for the information, so that it could get directed toward the destination. In 1969 there were four nodes on the then-called ARPANET. By 1973 there were ten times as many. In 1981 the number of connected computers was more than 200. Last year the number of devices capable of connecting to Internet was 8.4 billion (with a b!) [2].
Computers on their own are already great, but there is a whole range of applications that, without a network infrastructure, would be inaccessible. Do you see where I am going?
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