Substantial funding awarded to advance quantum science research

A team of researchers at Cornell University has been awarded a significant sum of research funding to enhance our understanding of quantum science.

The $5.4m funding, financed by the US Department of Energy (DOE), will ensure that Quantum science will continue to be innovated, with Cornell researchers and their collaborators now well equipped to pioneer the future disruptive technologies that will change the world as we know it.

On July 23, the DOE’s Office of Science announced that Cornell would lead two of its 29 new research projects. Both ventures will significantly develop our knowledge of quantum science, potentially helping to create the next generation of quantum smart devices and computer technology.

Jennifer M. Granholm, the US Secretary of Energy, said: “Quantum science represents the next technological revolution and frontier in the information age, and America stands at the forefront. At DOE, we’re investing in the fundamental research, led by universities and our national labs, that will enhance our resiliency in the face of growing cyber threats and climate disasters, paving the path to a cleaner, more secure future.”

Investing in quantum science

$1.8m in funding has been received by the Cornell project ‘Hybrid Quantum Magnonics for Transduction and Sensing’, which will be led by Greg Fuchs, PhD, an associate professor of applied and engineering physics in the College of Engineering.

The novel project is geared toward solving one of the principal challenges of solid-state quantum technologies – creating a network of quantum processors that work efficiently to exchange information. Additionally, the project will also investigate quantum-enhanced sensing by using magnons – the magnetic excitations in ultra-low damping materials – to link superconducting circuits to individual quantum bits.

Through amalgamating desirable properties from different quantum systems, the new hybrid systems will provide opportunities for enhanced quantum functionality. These include new interconnects for solid-state quantum bits, the control of large-scale quantum states, and the ability to control the direction of quantum information flow.

The project collaborators include Dan Ralph, the F.R. Newman Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences; Michael Flatté, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa; and Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, professor of physics at The Ohio State University.

Fuchs said: “I’m excited to push magnetic materials into the quantum limit to enable new ways to make quantum devices. The project is fundamental, but the opportunity is to take advantage of the fact that magnetic materials are nonreciprocal, meaning they can enforce ‘one-way’ interactions. That is currently difficult in quantum systems.”

Designing groundbreaking materials

The second Cornell project, called ‘Planar System for Quantum Information’, is led by Jie Shan, professor of applied and engineering physics at Cornell, and has received $3.6m in funding.

The team aims to engineer moiré materials for quantum simulation, which are created by overlaying layers of 2D materials with a slight twist angle or lattice mismatch. The traps within a moiré structure can be navigated by electrons, making a plethora of possibilities for the simulation of interacting quantum particles in a solid-state platform. The endeavour will also target developing advanced methods for material synthesis and 2D assembly. For example, they will aim to achieve bulk crystal growth using a flux synthesis method and dry transfer techniques to create 2D heterostructures.

Co-principal investigators include Kin Fai Mak, associate professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and collaborators from Columbia University, the University of Texas, Austin and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford University.

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