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Project Quantum Hub Thüringen

For quantum technology from Thüringen, Germany, IMMS is researching CMOS-based single-photon detectors.

Quantum technology is considered to be a key technology of the future. It enables the development of highly efficient technology that can far surpass the performance of conventional systems. By controlling individual quanta, i.e. the smallest light and energy components, disruptive applications are made possible, for example in the field of data processing (quantum computers), communications (tap-proof communications) and metrology (quantum imaging, quantum sensor technology).

IMMS is researching the use of single photon detectors (SPAD), which are manufactured in a standard semiconductor technology (CMOS). They are used to convert single photons into electrical signals and allow operation at room temperature without large and complex cooling systems. Statistical evaluation is required to interpret the sensor signals, which is performed by a programmable logic device (FPGA). In addition, the integration of such an optical sensor element in conjunction with the necessary evaluation electronics in a microchip is also being targeted.

SPAD EvalKit

IMMS has developed a SPAD evaluation kit in collaboration with X-FAB. The low-cost, hand-sized USB device called SPAD-EvalKit requires no additional power, is based on the time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) method and enables measurements with a temporal resolution of 20 picoseconds. The TCSPC method used for this purpose makes it possible to assess the temporal course of the intensity of light pulses. It can be used to set up single-photon sources, characterise light pulses with very small light powers or distances and thus lay the foundations for quantum-based applications. Among other things, the method can be used to develop new solutions for in-vitro diagnostics or medical technology, such as miniaturised luminescence and fluorescence measurement technology.

To interpret the sensor signals statistical evaluation is required. For the first SPAD evaluation kit, this is taken over by a programmable logic device (FPGA). This component is an intermediate step for later chip development. The FPGA can be used to specify the processes for sensor signal processing, but primarily to map the desired circuit structure, which can still be flexibly adapted for tests and optimisations.

This laid the foundation for the integration of such an optical sensor element in conjunction with the necessary evaluation electronics in a microelectronics chip, which will flow into application developments of other research projects.

Acronym / Name:

Quantum Hub Thüringen / Research and implementation strategy on quantum technology from Thüringen

Duration:2021 – 2023



|Potentially applicable in areas such as life sciences (sensor systems for in-vitro diagnostics) and environmental monitoring| initially primarily in research institutions.

Research field:Smart distributed measurement and test systems

Related content

All publicationsQuantumHub


ETD 2023

Erfurt Technology Dialogue

Jakob Hampel (IMMS) und Geert Brokmann (CiS e.V.) bei der Preisverleihung des Silicon-Science-Awards des CiS.

Press release,

Silicon Science Award geht an Nachwuchsforscher von IMMS und TU Ilmenau

Arbeit zu zeitkorrelierter Einzelphotonenzählung für Messungen im Pikosekundenbereich ausgezeichnet



Dipl.-Ing. Michael Meister

Head of Industrial Electronics and Measurement Technology

michael.meister(at) (0) 3677 874 93 20

Michael Meister is your contact for testing services, the development of test methodologies, and long-term measurements. He answers your questions on Modular and mobile test systems that we develop in our research in Smart distributed measurement and test systems as well as about testing and characterisation of integrated sensor systems. He is responsible for the test equipment at IMMS and will support you in the validation of ASIC and MEMS developments.


The Quantum Hub Thüringen research project is funded by the German Land of Thüringen via the Thüringer Aufbaubank under the reference 2021 FGI 0042.

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Core topic

Modular and mobile test systems

Test capabilities are an integral part of all application developments. We research modular test systems that can be adapted flexibly and quickly to new challenges through optimised functional test units.

Research field

Smart distributed measurement and test systems

Integrated sensor ICs are the heart of sensor and measurement systems like wireless sensors, stationary or handheld devices. We are researching solutions for ever more powerful sensors with more intrinsic intelligence and task allocation in the network.