Researchers receive $5.4M to advance quantum science

Cornell researchers and their collaborators will continue to advance quantum science and technology thanks to $5.4 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Cornell is leading two of 29 research projects announced July 23 by the DOE’s Office of Science. The funding supports researchers who are developing the next generation of quantum smart devices and computer technology, which are critical tools to solving pressing national challenges, according to U.S Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“Quantum science represents the next technological revolution and frontier in the information age, and America stands at the forefront,” Granholm said. “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 cyberthreats and climate disasters, paving the path to a cleaner, more secure future.”

The Cornell project “Hybrid Quantum Magnonics for Transduction and Sensing” received $1.8 million of the funding and is led by Greg Fuchs, Ph.D. ’07, associate professor of applied and engineering physics in the College of Engineering. Dan Ralph, the F.R. Newman Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, is collaborating on the project.

The research aims to make advances on one of the fundamental challenges of solid-state quantum technologies: networking quantum processors together to exchange information. The project will also focus on quantum-enhanced sensing, by using magnons – the magnetic excitations in ultra-low damping materials – to connect superconducting circuits to individual quantum bits. By combining desirable properties from different quantum systems, the hybrid systems will create new opportunities for enhanced quantum functionality, including the control of large-scale quantum states, new interconnects for solid-state quantum bits, and the ability to control the direction of quantum information flow.

“I’m excited to push magnetic materials into the quantum limit to enable new ways to make quantum devices,” Fuchs said. “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.”

Other collaborators include Michael Flatté, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa; and Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, professor of physics at The Ohio State University.

The Cornell project “Planar System for Quantum Information” received $3.6 million and is led by Jie Shan, professor of applied and engineering physics (Cornell Engineering).  Kin Fai Mak, associate professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, is co-principal investigator.

The researchers will focus on developing moiré materials for quantum simulation, which are formed by overlaying layers of 2D materials with a small twist angle or lattice mismatch. Electrons can tunnel between traps created by the moiré structure, presenting unprecedented possibilities for simulation of interacting quantum particles in a solid-state platform.

"Moiré materials provide a great platform for exploring many-body quantum phenomena at totally new regimes, which may also open up new applications in quantum information science based on solid-state platforms. We are excited to work on this area in the next couple of years," said Mak.

The project will also develop advanced methods for material synthesis and 2D assembly, such as bulk crystal growth using a flux synthesis method and the creation of tailored 2D heterostructures with on-demand control of rotation angle using dry transfer techniques.

Collaborators on the project include scientists from Columbia University, the University of Texas, Austin and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford University.

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