ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge

Let’s bridge the gap between academic research and industrial applications together.

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Three Quantum Challenges

covering problems across ZEISS businesses

Sensing and imaging are key technologies in research and industry with a continuous quest for better performance. Using quantum technologies of the second kind, i.e. based on the ability to control quantum states of individual or coupled systems, could be a way to achieve significant performance improvements. Although quantum technologies are getting more and more mature in the lab, industrial applications are still missing, not to mention actual products. We know this gap. It is called the “valley of death”.

Let’s bridge the gap between academic research and industrial applications together. Join the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge!

The rules of this Challenge are simple: We present you current problems of high relevance in the areas of

Medical Technology

Microscopy

Industrial Metrology

You submit your proposal showing how Quantum Technology can help solve one of these problems (the intellectual property will stay with you). We give you feedback and, together, further develop the most promising ideas. The best proposals are awarded and we enter bilateral discussions about potential follow-up collaboration.

"Valley of death"

How the Challenge works

What’s in it for you?

ZEISS experts help the finalists to develop their idea further during the workshop at the ZEISS Innovation Hub

Unique insights into the relevant technologies, the markets at hand, the target application.

For very promising proposals, we may also enter bilateral discussions about a future collaboration.

Experience firsthand how industry evaluates the feasibility, viability, and desirability of such proposals

Award prizes worth a total of € 6,000

Quantum Challenge for Medical Technology

Tissue differentiation during surgery

Imaging through scattering media

Quantum Challenge for Microscopy

Detecting and visualizing neuronal signals for life science

New contrasts and label free imaging for life science

Quantum Challenge for Industrial Metrology

High precision localization and orientation measurements

High precision overlay metrology for the semiconductor industry

Submit your proposal

Download the template for your proposal here.

In this template, we also provide guidelines regarding:

  • the structure of the document,
  • the information which you need to provide,
  • and the length limit/ word count.

Proposal and appendix should be uploaded in a single pdf-file. You do not have to use our template to generate the pdf-file. However, it is required to follow the guidelines mentioned in the template.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why did ZEISS launch the challenge?

Quantum technologies of the second generation, which are based on our ability to control individual quantum systems, are getting more and more mature in the lab. We believe that they are about to transition from academic research to industrial applications in the coming years. Although quantum technologies are getting more and more mature in the lab, industrial applications are still largely missing, not to mention actual products. Meanwhile some quantum Technologies are already becoming too mature to be supported by academic research. However, they are not yet mature enough to be integrated into a commercial product. This phenomenon is called the “valley of death”.

With the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge, we hope to help bridge this “valley of death”. We do this by sharing problems with high commercial relevance with the quantum technology community. Solving each of those problems has a significant commercial impact and has the potential to show the word that quantum technologies are not only an academic endeavor but can have a positive impact on our world. This way, we hope to minimize the number of interesting technologies which won’t “survive” the “valley of death” and hope transform the hype around quantum technologies into a sustainable effort carried by both academia as well as industry.

What is the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge?

The idea of the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge is simple. We present you current problems of high relevance in the areas of:

  • Medical Technology
  • Microscopy
  • Industrial Metrology

You submit your proposal on how quantum technology can help solve one of these problems. We give you feedback and, together, further develop the most promising idea. The best proposals are awarded. We may also enter bilateral discussions about a potential follow-up collaboration.

Who is behind the challenge?

The Carl Zeiss AG is an innovative world leading technology company which is active in four business segments. The ZEISS business segments are Industrial Quality, Medical Technology, Consumer Markets and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. We are facing daily technological challenges which are difficult to overcome with classical technologies.

The ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge is conceived and realized by the ZEISS Quantum Team of Corporate Research and Technology. We believe that quantum technologies could solve many of our actual problems and will become a key technology in the future.

What are the concrete challenges?

The ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenges is composed of six challenges:

  • Quantum Challenge for Medical Technology
  • Quantum Challenge for Microscopy
  • Quantum Challenge for Industrial Metrology

For each of those three challenges, we formulated two problem statements which are of high relevance to the corresponding business.

The problem statements for the Quantum Challenge for Medical Technology are:

  • Tissue differentiation during surgery
  • Imaging through scattering media

The problem statements for the Quantum Challenge for Microscopy are:

  • Detecting and visualizing neuronal signals for life science
  • New contrasts and label free imaging for life science

The problem statements for the Quantum Challenge for Industrial Metrology are:

  • High precision localization and orientation measurements
  • High precision overlay metrology for the semiconductor industry

To participate in one of the three challenges, you have to submit a proposal with a solution to one of the problem statements (You don’t have to provide solutions to both problem statements).

Who can join the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge?

The ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge is an international competition to which we welcome any participant. The participants should be able to provide clear input for solutions to our problems. There is no need to be part of any academic institution to submit a proposal. Potential participants can submit their proposal as a team or as a single participant.

Can we form a group from different institutions to submit one proposal?

Yes! You can form a cross-institutional group to submit your proposal. Please make sure that all group members accept the Terms & Conditions.

How can I submit my proposal?

The proposal should be submitted online on our website. We provide a template for your proposal on our website. In this template, we also provide guidelines regarding:

  • the structure of the document,
  • the information which you need to provide,
  • and the length limit/ word count.

Proposal and appendix should be uploaded in a single pdf-file. You do not have to use our template to generate the pdf-file. However, it is required to follow the guidelines mentioned in the template. The submission process is fully automatic and finished after uploading the proposal.

For any question during the submission process please contact the official email address info .quantum @zeiss .com. Proposal and appendix should be uploaded in a single pdf-file.

What language can I use?

We will only accept proposal that are written in English.

What kind of solutions are you looking for?

We are accepting theoretical and experimental proposals. There is no explicit need to show an experimental proof for your submission. The participant should provide a solid idea with a good concept for the proposal. Already published or patented ideas can be submitted. The participants are also allowed to publish their ideas after submission. The proposals are ranked based on potential business impact and technology risk. If the business impact is high, a high technology risk is also acceptable. The technology risk can be assessed either by experiments or by sound theoretical modeling.

How do I contact ZEISS?

To contact ZEISS please use the official email address for the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge info .quantum @zeiss .com. Please do not contact any employee from ZEISS directly via email or phone regarding the Challenge.

When is the deadline for submission?

The deadline for submission is the 31st March 2020. You can submit your proposal until this date.

How is the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge structured?

The ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge is devided in three different phases. The first phase is the submission process. In this phase all participations can submit their proposal through our online system.

In the second phase we are evaluating all submitted proposal on the following criteria:

  1. Technological risk
  2. Business impact

Please do not contact us for updates on the status or the evaluation of your proposal. We will not share this information at this point in time. At the end of the second phase we select the finalists. This teams with the most promising proposals will be announced and invited to a workshop at the ZEISS Innovation Hub Karlsruhe.

This is phase three: During this multi-day-workshop experts from the ZEISS businesses will help you to develop your idea further by sharing their expertise on markets, technology, and the application with you. At the end of the workshop the finalists will present their proposals to a jury of ZEISS experts. Based on this presentation the winners of the ZEISS Quantum Sensing and Imaging challenge will be determined and announced.

What can I win?

In total ZEISS will award prizes worth a total of €6,000 to the winners of the challenges. In addition, one of the main benefits is that ZEISS experts will help the finalists develop their idea further during the workshop at the ZEISS Innovation Hub (all travel expenses are covered).

This way you gain unique insights into:

  • the relevant Technologies,
  • the markets at hand,
  • the target application (What does the customer need),
  • and you experience firsthand how industry evaluates the feasibility, viability, and desirability of such proposals.

For very promising proposals, we may also enter bilateral discussions about a potential follow-up collaboration.

Will I get a job offer at ZEISS?

We don’t offer a full-time/part-time/internship contract with ZEISS as part of the challenge. ZEISS may decide to work with teams or individuals after the competition or offer alternative forms of support to develop promising ideas further. However, this is decided on a case by case basis and is not part of the prize.

Will ZEISS collaborate with me if I win one of the Challenges?

A collaboration with ZEISS does not constitute a part of the prize of winning one of the Challenges. However, ZEISS may decide to work with teams or individuals after the competition or offer alternative forms of support to develop promising ideas further.

Who is the owner of the idea/proposal?

The intellectual property will stay with the participants who enter. Specific conditions related to the use of the proposal are detailed in the Terms and Conditions available on the website of the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge.

Can the submitted proposal be published?

Yes! All participants can publish their work in journals. However, we encourage you to wait with publication until the ZEISS Quantum Sensing & Imaging Challenge is completed.

This way you can:

  • profit from the insights you gain during the workshop at the ZEISS Innovation Hub,
  • file IP. We see that for many of our academic partners filing patents is often an afterthought. If your proposal has commercial potential, you should secure the intellectual property. However, this requires that the invention disclosure is filed before publication. We can help you in evaluating the value of the IP and in filing a strong patent.