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Our Story

Zurich Instruments Employees Group Photo

Zurich Instruments is a test and measurement company headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland and is part of the Rohde & Schwarz family. We develop and sell measurement instruments worldwide, either directly or through carefully selected partners, and provide responsive and effective customer service. We are a growing, stand-alone, and founder-led company.

What We Do

Zurich Instruments makes cutting-edge instrumentation for scientists and technologists who work in advanced laboratories and are passionate about phenomena often difficult to measure. Our offering includes lock-in amplifiers, arbitrary waveform generators, impedance analyzers, phase-locked loops, digitizers, boxcar averagers, and quantum computing control systems.

We believe in the power of system integration. System integration leads to reduced setup complexity, more efficient workflows, better time allocation, and more reliable measurements.

Our instruments deliver market-leading specifications for sensitivity, dynamic range, feature set, speed, and accuracy, as shown by Zurich Instruments' industry firsts:

Production room

2009 - 2018

  • In 2009, Zurich Instruments launched its first product: the world's fastest lock-in amplifier (at the time), the HF2LI, with 6 demodulators and a dynamic reserve of 120 dB for frequencies up to 50 MHz.
  • In 2010, a fast phase-locked loop (PLL) was integrated into the HF2LI. A scope, a spectrum analyser, and a parametric sweeper were also added to each instrument.
  • In 2012 we introduced the UHF series, which included the fastest commercially available lock-in amplifier and PLL. At the same time, the UHFLI set a new sensitivity standard, reducing input noise to 4 nV/√Hz.
  • In 2013, Zurich Instruments brought to the market the LabOne® instrument control software. LabOne features a web-based user interface for instrument control and a set of application programming interfaces for leading programming languages.
  • In 2014, a boxcar option with a periodic waveform analyzer (PWA) was integrated into the UHF series. The UHF-BOX is the fastest commercial boxcar averager on the market; the PWA is an innovative tool that simplifies and speeds up tasks related to the analysis of periodic waveforms, e.g. asynchronous optical and electrical detection.
  • In 2015 we launched the MF series. The MFLI is the first lock-in amplifier with an integrated web server, enabling remote experimental control from any platform without the need for software installations. Its 2.5 nV/√Hz input noise level and dynamic range exceeding 120 dB set the industry standard in the low- to medium-frequency range.
  • In early 2016, we introduced our first arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) and a pulse counter module for the UHF series. With the AWG option, the UHF series integrates highly flexible signal generation, multiple detection schemes, and various feedback options. That same year we launched the MFIA, our first static impedance analyzer and precision LCR meter with 0.05% basic accuracy and a measurement range stretching up to 1 TΩ.
  • In 2017 we launched the HDAWG, a multi-channel arbitrary waveform generator with the highest channel density on the market. In combination with the new LabOne multi-device synchronization functionality, the HDAWG is the reference for all applications requiring many independent and synchronized arbitrary waveform generator channels controlled from a single software interface.
  • In 2018, Zurich Instruments introduced the UHFQA and the PQSC. The UHFQA is a quantum analyzer specifically designed for superconducting and spin qubits; the PQSC is the first programmable quantum system controller that can synchronize and orchestrate the instrumentation required for quantum processors ranging from a few to 100 qubits. With the HDAWG and LabOne, the PQSC allows us to offer the QCCS, the world's first commercial quantum computing control system.
ZI Timeline

2019 - Today

  • In 2019, we added the HDAWG-PC Real-Time Precompensation option to the HDAWG. This functionality minimizes signal distortions introduced by the signal path between the AWG and the sample to achieve fast, high-fidelity and low-leakage quantum gates. In addition, multi-channel measurements are now supported by multi-device synchronization (MDS) in LabOne. With the instrument clocks of up to 8 units phase-locked, the time stamps of the measurement data are automatically aligned between instruments. LabOne can display measurement data from multiple instruments in one graph for direct comparison and analysis.
  • In 2020, we launched the SHFQA Quantum Analyzer, the first instrument of its kind that can perform the direct and parallel readout of superconducting and spin qubits in the microwave domain.
  • In April 2021, we brought the SHFSG Signal Generator to the market. This instrument produces qubit control signals in the frequency range from DC to 8.5 GHz with a spurious-free modulation bandwidth of 1 GHz, and is based on a double superheterodyne scheme for frequency up-conversion that eliminates the need for mixer calibration.
  • As of July 1st, 2021, Zurich Instruments is owned entirely by German technology group Rohde & Schwarz. All functions at Zurich Instruments remain in place, from development and production to marketing and sales. Continuing the relationships with existing customers and partners is essential to both companies, who look forward to further innovations in lock-in amplifier products, impedance test and measurement instrumentation and quantum computing control systems.
  • In November 2021, we launched the SHFQC Qubit Controller, which offers a full room-temperature qubit control system for up to 6 superconducting qubits in a single instrument. The SHFQC provides channels for driving high-fidelity single- or two-qubit gates, perform single-shot multiplexed qubit readout, and perform fast feedback or error correction protocols; several SHFQCs can also work together to support larger qubit numbers.
  • In August 2022, we launched the SHFPPC Parametric Pump Controller, a fully integrated system for operating Josephson parametric amplifiers. Leveraging the benefits of parametric amplification, the SHFPPC enables high-fidelity readout at the quantum limit for the measurement of superconducting or spin-based qubits.
  • In September 2022, we introduced the GHFLI and SHFLI, bringing the advantages of lock-in amplifiers to experiments at microwave frequencies. Capable of performing measurements at frequencies up to 1.8 and 8.5 GHz, respectively, they are ideal companions for applications such as RF MEMS and NEMS characterization and control, spin qubits, ultrafast laser spectroscopy, spintronics, and electronic devices failure analysis. Each offers 2 independent lock-in channels in combination with a full microwave measurement suite that includes an Oscilloscope, Spectrum Analyzer, Parametric Sweeper and more, reducing complexity for scientists and engineers.
  • In October 2022, we launched LabOne Q, the software framework to accelerate quantum computing progress on Zurich Instruments’ hardware. With LabOne Q, users can design complex quantum experiments with an intuitive, high-level programming language. It streamlines and automates time-consuming tasks such as optimizing instrument settings, generating and uploading waveforms, and synchronizing pulses between multiple instruments.
  • In August 2023, we introduced the QHub Quantum System Hub designed for real-time orchestration of all high-speed electronic components required to control a quantum computer. The instrument can be programmed by the user to optimize for rapid tune-ups and error correction, while the processing can be adapted to the specific algorithm and computer architecture used. With its 56 ZSync ports, QHub connects systems suitable for quantum processors with up to 300 superconducting qubits.

Where We Come From

Zurich Instruments was founded in April 2008 by Dr. Sadik Hafizovic, Dr. Flavio Heer, and Beat Hofstetter as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). At ETH Zurich, they developed a prototype used by a team of biologists to characterize and sort blood cells using single-cell impedance measurements. The instrument had to be capable of simultaneous high-rate demodulation at multiple frequencies. The solution relied on an FPGA-based digital signal processor and sophisticated software, and it replaced a much bulkier and complex setup. That prototype became the foundation for the first line of highly integrated, multi-functional equipment for time- and frequency-domain analysis developed by Zurich Instruments.

Chat in the kitchen

How We Do It

We integrate state-of-the-art analog electronics, high-precision digital signal processing, innovative software, and intuitive user interfaces into a line of products guided by lean design principles. Integration does not stop at the instrument level, however. Our products come with responsive and effective customer service, a high level of professionalism and competence, and complete documentation.

Where We Are Going

Our measurement systems feature in a broad range of demanding applications around the world. We are inspired by our customers, who are global leaders in scientific and industrial research and development, by our external partners, and by each other. Zurich Instruments has a pipeline filled with projects and innovations. We are open to new partnerships, collaborations, customers, and team members.

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