Norbert Lütkenhaus

Faculty, Executive Director
Norbert Lütkenhaus

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Norbert Lütkenhaus studied at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen) and the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich, from which he graduated with a thesis in general relativity.

He then changed the field to study quantum optics and quantum cryptography under the supervision of Stephen M. Barnett at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK.

In 1996 he obtained his PhD and then completed postdoctoral positions at Innsbruck (Peter Zoller and Ignacio Cirac) and the Helsinki Institute of Physics (Kalle-Antti Suominen).

He worked for MagiQ Technologies (New York) to initiate the project of commercial realisation of quantum key distribution.

Returning to academia in 2001, he built up and lead an Emmy-Noether Research Group at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, during which time he did his habiliation (2004).

Previously, Lütkenhaus served as the IQC Graduate Program Director. Currently, he is the Executive Director at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and also a Professor at IQC and in the physics and astronomy department at the University of Waterloo. Lütkenhaus runs the Optical Quantum Communication Theory Group.

Current projects and research expertise

  • The theory of practical quantum key distribution systems
  • Methods and tools for entanglement verification
  • Linear optic quantum logic operation and measurement implementation
  • Quantum state detection and estimation theory


  • Habilitation, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, 2003
  • PhD in Physics, University of Strathclyde, 1996
  • Masters, Diplom Physik, LMU München, 1993

Major positions

Title Location When
Executive Director Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo 2022-present
Professor Institute for Quantum Computing and Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo 2011-present
Associate Professor Institute for Quantum Computing and Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo 2006-2011

Leader of Independent Emmy-Noether Research

Institute for Theoretical Physics and Max-Planck Research Group, Institute of Optics, Information and Photonics 2001-2005
Project Leader MagiQ Technologies Inc. 2000-2001
Senior Scientist (Research Fellow) Helsinki Institute of Physics, Finland 1997-2000