The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science is a unique postdoc program for scientists with a proven track record who are willing to engage in a dialogue on relevant social, cultural, political or economic issues across the frontiers of their particular discipline. It awards young researchers around the world with a generous personal research grant, giving them the freedom to work on whatever topic they choose anywhere in the world, for up to five years. The program aims to award up to ten fellowships each year. The number of recipients depends on the number of applications satisfying the stringent requirements not only taking into account the scientific abilities of the candidates but also personal qualities and the relevance of their projects.
As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Christian Haffner will research the transfer of quantum information from single microwave to single optical photons. To exchange information, these particles need to talk to each other. This is quite challenging as a microwave photon poses five orders of magnitude less energy, and thus, its presence is almost unnoticeable for an optical photon. To overcome this obstacle, we will develop nanoscale machines that empower this dialog. On the one hand we will make use of novel chemically engineered materials that increase the sensitivity of the optical photons to become better listeners. On the other hand, we will confine microwave photons with the help of nanoscale devices. In these devices, the strength with which the microwave photons can communicate is enhanced similar to the electrical field enhancement in a lightning rod. By mastering the information exchange, this research could help to connect individual quantum technology nodes such as quantum computer with each other to form a more powerful global network accessible to everyone.