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Hi, I am Leon,

I have always been drawn to technology and especially have been curious to find out how things work. So, it was a natural choice for me to start studying electrical engineering in Aachen. At the beginning of my masters, I joined the UNITECH programme where I had the opportunity to join Infineon Technologies AG for an internship in their Munich quantum computing team where I was designing integrated circuits for trapped ion quantum computing. I really enjoyed the emphasis on research with this topic inside the companies R&D department. For
this reason, I stayed with the Munich quantum computing team, and I am now doing my PhD in engineering together with Infineon.

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What attracted you to apply to the UNITECH programme?

During the assessment for the admission to the programme I was actually asked a similar question by one of the assessors. It essentially boils down to how I think the UNITECH programme can help me develop personally and professionally. For me there are three main reasons:

The programme came to my attention because I was already planning to do an exchange during my masters. Among the several options UNITECH also offered the opportunity to complete an internship at interesting companies. Since by my study programme I was anyway required to do an internship in industry, from a pragmatic point of view, the UNITECH programme offers a convenient package.
Personally, even more important than that was the unique selling point of UNITECH offering three weeks of leadership training. I have a very technical background which was also reflected in my social circle which was very technical and German. In these three sessions I had the opportunity to get to know and appreciate the non-technical perspective. Lastly, when talking about different
perspectives, the UNITECH programme not only offers the academic exchange and a potentially an international internship but also to meet a diverse group of people from nine different countries. Back then, I told the assessor that I was hoping these last two points would push me to step outside my comfort zone so that I can develop personally and improve my social skills in an international

I would advise anyone who can relate to my story to consider the UNITECH programme. It not only offers something for the STEM students that were always interested in management but also the very technical, research driven ones.

What did you enjoy most about your experience in the UNITECH programme so far and how has the programme helped prepare you for the next steps in your career?

It is hard for me to pick a favourite experience out of everything in the UNITECH programme. It might be the community of all the people that are located at all the major locations of academic and corporate partners all over Europe. I would say this is reflected in all the experiences throughout the UNITECH year. During the three weeks of leadership training in three different countries the respective local students created an unofficial evening programme after the main sessions to show us the culture and student live in the respective location. Although, this did not make the following morning sessions easier, it was great to share these experiences together.

Tell us more about your Academic Exchange? Where was your academic exchange? What did you enjoy the most? Which subjects were the most challenging or interesting?

I did my exchange at ETH in Zürich. The best port of it was probably enjoying the great alpine nature of Switzerland together with the other UNITECH students in Zürich. The most interesting subjects I took during my exchange were Analog to Digital Converters and Qubit, Electrons, Photons. The latter was definitely also the most challenging one because my prior knowledge of quantum mechanics was limited.

Where was your internship? Were there any challenges that you faced? How did you overcome them?

I did my internship at Infineon Technologies AG in Munich where I joined the team that is developing cryogenic electronics for trapped ion quantum computing. I had the task of designing a high voltage cryogenic digital-to-analog converter. Especially, the high voltage part was a new challenge for me because it requires a good understanding of the underlying transistor technology. After one major setback in the designing process, I was able to solve all the flaws in my circuit so
that later the chip was manufactured.

What are some of the biggest trends you see in your industry, and how are you preparing for them?

In the field of quantum computing, we have seen that companies and researchers are reporting more and more successes. Only three months ago Quantinuum and Microsoft reported for the first time successful quantum error correction. This might be a sign that we are now entering a new era in the development of quantum computing. I am hopeful that in a decade we will see
quantum computers that can solve useful tasks which a non-quantum supercomputer is not able to solve. In ten years, quantum computers might not be able crack our encryption algorithms yet, like often mentioned in the media, but they might help us to simulate physics to find new materials or drugs which can greatly benefit society. As for how I am planning to prepare for this, I hope I can contribute to making useful quantum computers possible.

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