Swabian Instruments is a test and measurement company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. We develop and sell digital data acquisition and signal generation systems that are easy to use, performant, and packed with useful features. Our instruments empower scientists around the globe to perform groundbreaking research. With our Time Tagger Series, we are emerging as the technology leader in time-correlated single photon counting instrumentation. We are a growing and founder-led company.
We enable scientists to implement their research ideas with just a few lines of code and help them maximize the time they spend on their actual research. We put lots of thoughts into our system's architectures and the interface that the user interacts with and shift the boundary of what is possible with modern data acquisition and signal generation systems.
Swabian Instruments was founded in 2016 by Helmut Fedder, Michael Schlagmüller, and Markus Wick with the goal of commercializing the time tagging technology that the team had developed at the University of Stuttgart.
The founders had worked together on novel instrumentation for single-photon counting that they needed for their research. They had designed instrumentation that satisfied the demanding requirements posed by single-photon quantum physics applications. At the same time, the new system was so easy to use that new team members were able to work with it efficiently from day one. The first Time Tagger quickly became known within the research community worldwide and sparked the foundation of Swabian Instruments.
Swabian Instruments is founded as a spin-off of the University of Stuttgart within an EXIST scholarship with the goal to commercialize the Time Tagger 20 FPGA technology.
The Time Tagger Ultra is released, increasing the timing resolution below 10 ps RMS jitter and boosting the data rate to 65 M tags/s. With the release of the Pulse Streamer 8/2, Swabian Instruments establishes a second business pillar: fast digital pattern generation.
Swabian Instruments receives the Innovation Award of the State of Baden-Württemberg.
By parallelizing tapped-delay-lines, Swabian Instruments demonstrates a record-breaking timing resolution with FPGA based time-to-digital converters of 2.7 ps RMS jitter. After completing his PhD in electrical engineering, Markus Wick joins Swabian Instruments as a shareholder and CTO. Swabian Instruments moves out of its University start-up garage to its new location in Stuttgart Zuffenhausen. Swabian Instruments is a top-3 finalist of the "Deutscher Gründerpreis", Germany's most prestigious entrepreneur award.
Helmut Fedder is responsible for company strategy and business development. He has been driving the development of Swabian Instruments' technology since early 2010. Helmut did his PhD in physics at the TU Enschede working on micro-fluidics and optics. He went on to work as a research team leader in the group of Jörg Wrachtrup at the University of Stuttgart, studying solid-state quantum physics with color centers in diamond. Helmut has a broad knowledge in theoretical and experimental physics across disciplines. In the early days of Swabian Instruments, he designed the first versions of the Time Tagger and Pulse Streamer FPGA cores.
Michael Schlagmüller drives our overall operations and maintains the high-quality standard of our hardware, software, and support. After completing his MSc. (BA) in electrical engineering, Michael moved on to pursue a PhD in experimental physics in the group of Tilman Pfau at the University of Stuttgart, where he set up a complete ultracold Rydberg atom experiment from scratch.
Markus Wick leads our R&D and covers the full technology stack from hardware - FPGA firmware - C++ backend to GUI software. Markus studied electrical engineering at the University of Stuttgart and pursued a PhD in theoretical electrical engineering in the group of Wolfgang Rucker, working on multi-harmonic electro-dynamics computations. By contributing to several high-performance open source software projects, he has gained deep experience in software development. Markus developed the heart of the Time Tagger technology in 2011.
Swabian Instruments is a global single-photon quantum technology leader. Our solutions have empowered groundbreaking research and commercialization initiatives within the optical quantum technologies since our incorporation. Together with our partners, we are committed to drive quantum technology to market and actively shape the European quantum technology ecosystem.
In 2018 Swabian Instruments joined the Q.Link.X project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany). Spearheaded by Prof. Dieter Meschede from the University of Bonn, and run by a consortium of leading quantum technology research groups in Germany, the project Q.link.X ("quantum link extension") aims at realizing an extended quantum repeater link for the very first time. Combining the strengths of different technology platforms, such as quantum dots and nitrogen-vacancy centers as well as combinations of cold atom and ion systems alongside with single-photon frequency conversion, the consortium will lay the ground for a national hybrid quantum repeater network. Swabian Instruments is developing the required next-generation high bandwidth single-photon time tagging solutions that empower the consortium with hardware-based event filtering.
To expand its research activities to the European level, Swabian Instruments joined the Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA) project in 2018. The project, spearheaded by Prof. Stephanie Wehner from the TU Delft gathers a consortium of leading theory and experimental physics groups across Europe together with a group of small size to large scale high-tech companies in a joint effort to build a European quantum internet and distributed computing architecture under the umbrella of Europe's prestigious quantum flagship program. Starting from the physical layer, the team will develop the entire quantum communication technology stack up to high-level protocol layers. Swabian Instruments is developing the required synchronized distributed photon time-tagging architecture that provides an abstraction layer for handling time tag streams.
In 2020, Swabian Instruments joined a close collaboration with Prof. Jens Anders from the University of Stuttgart and Prof. Fedor Jelezko from the University of Ulm, supported by the Institue for Quantum Science and Technology (IQST), to pioneer research on next-generation time-to-digital converters. The project STRATUS, carried out by a joint PhD student, marked the start of Swabian Instruments' ASIC design activities and paves the way for Swabian Instruments to become a semiconductor company.
In a European effort to strengthen excellence within quantum tech engineering, Swabian Instruments joined the QUDOT-Tech project in 2020. The project, spearheaded by Nils Gregersen from the Technical University of Denmark, brings together top research groups across Europe to train early-stage researchers within quantum-dot based quantum technology. The team will build an integrated photonic quantum processing platform. Swabian instruments' researcher will develop a high time resolution single photon processing system that interfaces the quantum chip with the classical electronics layer.
In the SINPHOSS project, which started in Summer 2020, Swabian Instruments joined forces with the team of Prof. Wolfram Pernice at the University of Münster to develop optical measurement technology with a bandwidth up to a THz and beyond. We develop fast time-to-digital converters as integrated circuits using the latest silicon technology and combine them with the fastest superconducting single photon detectors available today. With a targeted timing resolution of 300 femtoseconds, we are pioneering the photonic quantum technology and broadband optical measurement technology of tomorrow.
Swabian Instruments is working together with one of the pioneering companies within Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors - Photon Spot - to develop and market high-performance photon counting solutions since 2017.
Since 2018, Swabian Instruments has been working together with Single Quantum, that makes the fastest commercially available superconducting detectors. Together, the companies have demonstrated a TCSPC setup with a record-breaking low timing jitter using a Single Quantum Eos SNSPD system and Swabian Instruments' Time Tagger Ultra HiRes.
In 2019 Swabian Instruments was a Top 3 finalist of the Deutscher Gründerpreis, Germany's most prestigious entrepreneur award.
The distinguished jury of the partner companies Porsche, Stern, ZDF, and the Sparkasse selected Swabian Instruments out of more than 600 prominent nominees. The jury was impressed by the "outstanding scientific competence" and the "persuasiveness of the founders".
The award recognizes the impact that our technology creates for high precision digital measurements. Have a look at Swabian Instruments' page on the official site of the Deutscher Gründerpreis.
In 2018 the Innovationspreis Baden-Württemberg, the most prestigious innovation award in the state, was awarded to Swabian Instruments by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut.
In her laudation, Dr. Christine Neuy, Managing Director of the microTEC cluster Südwest, summarized the outstanding achievements of Dr. Helmut Fedder, Dr. Michael Schlagmüller, and Markus Wick with a quote from Galileo Galilei: "Measure what can be measured, and make measurable what cannot be measured." "With the development of the Time Tagger, the three scientists have revolutionized measurement technology and enabled scientists all over the world to perform their measurements in a flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient way", she said.