Based at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, the Chicago Quantum Exchange catalyzes research activity across disciplines and member institutions. It is anchored by the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, as well as partners across the globe.

The CQE brings together member institutions’ intellectual talents, research capabilities, and engineering capacities in a powerful collaborative effort to advance quantum science. Together, the universities and national laboratories have more than 130 researchers in various areas of quantum information technology—a setup that makes Chicago a unique destination for researchers and engineers to explore quantum information science in numerous ways.

The University of Chicago is a leading academic and research institution that has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. Leading the research at UChicago are the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and the Physical Sciences Division’s departments of physics, chemistry, computer science, and astronomy and astrophysics, which are home to world-leading research in quantum information science and engineering. Expertise includes quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing, as well as creating quantum materials using semiconductors, superconductors, and trapped atoms. These materials serve as the basis for building nanoscale electronic, optical, and mechanical devices that operate at the quantum limit. For example, understanding and manipulating the spin of electrons in semiconductors or magnetic flux in superconductors can be used for advancing computing, medical imaging, encryption and other technologies.

UChicago is also one of the nation’s leading institutions for educating and training tomorrow’s quantum engineers, with a quantum research-focused undergraduate major and a training program for graduate students that connects them with industry and the national laboratories.

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Argonne’s research in quantum information science encompasses discovery of new materials and devices for solid-state qubits (the basic unit of quantum information rendered as an electronic or optical device), and photonic and spin-based approaches for reliably manipulating and transmitting quantum information. Argonne leads Q-NEXT, one of five National Quantum Information Science Research Centers awarded by the Department of Energy. It is a collaboration involving the world’s leading minds from national laboratories, universities and the private sector.

Argonne’s priorities include:

  • A facility capable of teleporting quantum states and more than 50-mile “quantum loop” that develops new applications for quantum networks
  • Quantum sensing, particularly as applied to problems in high-energy and nuclear physics, and chemistry
  • Algorithms and software research
  • Hybrid quantum-classical computing systems
  • Complex simulations of chemical processes

The quantum information sciences program leverages Argonne’s expansive experimental and computational infrastructure for research in the physical sciences—including large open-use scientific facilities run by the Department of Energy Office of Science, such as the Advanced Photon Source, the Center for Nanoscale Materials, and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

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Fermilab seeks to leverage the power of quantum science to address problems in data analysis and theoretical physics. High-energy physicists are also extending their expertise in sensor and accelerator technology for quantum software and computing. As a pioneer both in particle physics and in high-performance and supercomputing, Fermilab capitalizes on its capabilities at the intersection of these areas to solve the intractable problems of high-energy physics. It partners with other institutions in carrying out its quantum initiatives, which are supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science. Fermilab also leads Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center, one of five National Quantum Information Science Research Centers awarded by the Department of Energy.

The laboratory’s initiatives in quantum information science include:

  • Simulation of quantum field theories
  • Algorithms for traditional high-energy physics computational problems
  • Teleportation experiments and circuit models of quantum gravity systems
  • Application of qubit technologies to quantum sensors in high-energy physics experiments on the sensitivity frontier
  • Superconducting quantum systems

Fermilab is America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. Since 1967, Fermilab has worked to answer fundamental questions about the universe and enhance our understanding of everything we see around us. The lab’s vision is to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space, and time for the benefit of all.

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The Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center (IQUIST) brings together physicists, electrical engineers, computer scientists, entrepreneurs, and other experts to accelerate ongoing and new efforts in quantum information science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. IQUIST leverages and consolidates the university’s strengths in this critical research area, priming the Urbana campus to take a leadership role in the coming quantum information revolution—delivering world-changing technologies, a cutting-edge workforce, and entirely new industries to the state and the world. IQUIST collaborators are developing quantum devices, quantum computing algorithms, and new protocols for quantum communications. UIUC also leads the NSF QLCI Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks, which will tackle the challenge of scaling quantum processors by pursuing an alternative paradigm: distributed quantum processing and networks composed of a hybrid architecture.

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The University of Wisconsin–Madison focuses on research in quantum computing and networking, quantum sensing, and quantum materials. The Wisconsin Quantum Institute (WQI) hosts research on four of the most prominent physical qubit implementations: silicon quantum dot, superconducting, neutral atom and NV-center qubits. With Ph.D. programs in quantum-related fields and an M.S. program in physics-quantum computing — the first in the United States dedicated to quantum computing — they are helping to lead the way into the quantum computing future and building a new era of quantum workforce.

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Northwestern University’s leadership in quantum sciences stems from robust and diverse areas of research excellence, ranging from materials and chemistry to physics and engineering. Leading in these efforts is the Initiative at Northwestern for Quantum Information Research and Engineering (INQUIRE), which was established to transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines and converge research, education, and outreach activities in quantum sciences, engineering, and technology across the University. Central to INQUIRE’s mission is the facilitation of partnerships with academic, government, and industrial organizations to accelerate research efforts and new discoveries.

Areas of excellence include:

  • Atomic, molecular, and optical physics
  • Material informatics and data science
  • Material synthesis
  • Nanoscale characterization
  • Photonics
  • Superconducting technologies

Bridging over 40 faculty across Northwestern and led by an interdisciplinary executive committee, INQUIRE is a highly collaborative initiative focused on advancing quantum information sciences with numerous areas of research excellence.

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