Leo Kouwenhoven University Professor at TU Delft QuTech

As of 1 March 2024, Professor Leo Kouwenhoven will be appointed University Professor at TU Delft QuTech, the quantum research institute founded by TU Delft and TNO. Professor Kouwenhoven has been a full professor at TU Delft since 1999. After working at Microsoft, where he teamed up with TU Delft researchers on the development of quantum computers based on Majorana particles, Leo Kouwenhoven has recently been supervising PhD projects at TU Delft in an independent research capacity. We are pleased to announce that Leo Kouwenhoven will continue his outstanding contribution to science at TU Delft.

In recent years, there has been a lot of coverage of the Majorana research at TU Delft, and of Leo Kouwenhoven. This fundamental research was sensational in its kind, as it concerned the development of robust qubits based on Majorana states which have the property of being protected against quantum errors.

Between 2020 and 2023, two separate investigations into possible violation(s) of scientific integrity were conducted by TU Delft’s Research Integrity Committee (and in one case also by the Dutch Body for Scientific Integrity, LOWI) in relation to two publications in 2017 and 2018 on this research. No violations of scientific integrity were found. Leo Kouwenhoven, as supervisor and corresponding author, acted with (culpable) negligence with regard to the first publication. In the case of the second publication, for which the integrity investigation was recently completed, he was not at fault.

Leo Kouwenhoven: "I am pleased to return to TU Delft. The past few years have been tough, but I am glad that I was able to account for the research I have led all those years. Both LOWI and the Executive Board have concluded that no violation of scientific integrity occurred. With regard to the publication Quantized Majorana Conductance, it was concluded that I could have been more diligent as a supervisor, and I fully agree. Now that the integrity investigation has been completed, scientific debate can resume."

Scientific director QuTech Lieven Vandersypen: "QuTech is delighted that Leo Kouwenhoven returns to TU Delft and will be able to contribute his extraordinary knowledge and expertise to the further development of research in pursuit of robust qubits, minimally disturbed by their environment. The research field in which Leo operates is of fundamental importance and involves cutting-edge technology."

"Thankfully, PhD candidates and postdocs have not been idle in recent years. They were successful in developing an alternative approach for realising Majorana states, the so-called Kitaev chain. This new approach is highly promising, initially for fundamental quantum research and possibly later as the basis for a new qubit," Leo Kouwenhoven said.