Trinity College Dublin recently appointed Professor Ortwin Hess, a global leader in photonic quantum technology research and science, to lead a stellar project that will give rise to more secure quantum communications and quantum simulation, and through quantum sensing may even discover new properties of bio-molecules and novel materials.

Professor Hess has been awarded approximately €3.85 million in funding under the SFI Research Professorship Programme to lead the METAQUANT project. 

Quantum technologies usually require extremely cold temperatures to reduce detrimental noise effects, which limits the ways in which they can be adapted for use in society. The METAQUANT programme is a theoretical and computational project aiming to develop computer-based ‘in silico’ quantum tools to architect photonic quantum technologies fit to work at room-temperature and in realistic environments using quantum metamaterials.  

With experimental and company collaborators, Professor Hess’ work will create possibilities to demonstrate advances for quantum simulation, quantum communications, quantum metrology and quantum sensing. 

Professor Ortwin Hess, Chair Professor of Quantum Nanophotonics at Trinity, said: “It seems only too apt that we should drive new steps in quantum science and technologies here at Trinity, with such a rich physics heritage including Hamilton, Walton, and of course the quantum giant Schrödinger. I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity that Science Foundation Ireland and Trinity are providing. Our team and colleagues at Trinity will lead novel research into room-temperature quantum technologies, together with a network of international collaborators from Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, South Africa, the UK and US. Today, it is Trinity’s outstanding expertise in nanoscience, photonics and materials and the range of opportunities in Ireland that provide pillars for my research and education goals. Personally, I am also particularly excited about the potential to share my passion for quantum science ‘beyond the lab’ by collaborating with the Arts at the Science Gallery Dublin.” 

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, welcomed the appointment, saying: “We are delighted that Professor Ortwin Hess is joining Trinity College Dublin, bringing his knowledge and expertise in photonic quantum technology research. Recruiting world-leading scientific talent to Ireland is a key priority for SFI in partnership with our higher education institutions. This is the second SFI Research Professorship award in the important field of quantum science. I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Professor Hess and wish him every success with his research programme."