Another success for gravitational research

The Scientific Council and the German Research Foundation (DFG) provide support for the QUEST Excellence Cluster

January 16, 2007

The Excellence Cluster Center for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research (QUEST), which is based at the Leibniz Universität Hannover and has been developed in close collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) made a convincing presentation in the second round of the Excellence Initiative and was invited to submit a detailed application.

The goal of the scientists involved in QUEST is to unite the quantized world of quantum physics with the continuous relativity theory of space, time and gravitation into one physical model. In their quest to do so, scientists have recourse to completely new concepts concerning precision measurement of length, time, acceleration, rotation, etc., which have been created in recent years through new quantum technologies and methods of quantum engineering. These include, for example, the new atom lasers or Bose-Einstein condensates, an experimentally macroscopic quantum state of matter that was first predicted by Einstein.

These research projects involve a close connection between basic research and applied research; because the findings arrived at in basic research provide essential information for applications such as next generation satellite navigation systems. These include the European navigation system Galileo, new earth observation satellites or considerably more precise geodetic reference systems. Quantum technologies, as used and developed in this context, therefore form an excellent basis for industrial co-operation and innovative high-tech products.

A total of 305 applications from 70 universities were submitted in this competition of the Excellence Initiative, among which 134 were for graduate schools, 144 for excellence clusters and 27 for strategies for the future.

Through QUEST, the leading Institutes have collaborated in areas of research concerning individual atoms, atomic interferometers, atomic quantum sensors, lasers and atomic clocks, as well as astronomy with gravitational waves or earth observation and geodesy. In particular, this intensive collaboration between such different fields will contribute decisively to the solution of scientific problems.

Members of the Centre for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research (QUEST):

  • Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI)
  • Gravity Wave Detector GEO600
  • Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Braunschweig
  • Laser Center Hanover (LZH)
  • Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravitation (ZARM), Bremen
  • Institut für Quantenoptik (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
  • Institute of Gravitational Physics (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
  • Institut für Theoretische Physik (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
  • Institut für Festkörperphysik (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
  • Institut für Erdmessung (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
  • Institut für Angewandte Mathematik (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

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