Chicago Quantum Exchange welcomes new international and corporate partners

Expansion signals growing strength of quantum ecosystem

The Chicago Quantum Exchange welcomed the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) as its fifth international partner, an agreement highlighted last week during a meeting between President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India. It was announced alongside a science and technology partnership between IIT Bombay and the University of Chicago that will promote cooperation in fields such as quantum information science, climate and energy, advanced microelectronics, artificial intelligence and data science.

The partnership agreement with IIT Bombay marked the latest expansion for the CQE, an intellectual hub focused on accelerating the progress of quantum information science and engineering (QISE). In recent months, the CQE has welcomed three new corporate partners that are contributing to the growing strength of the regional quantum ecosystem: Quantopticon, Great Lakes Crystal Technologies, and memQ, all graduates of the quantum startup accelerator Duality. The CQE has also welcomed a third cohort of four Duality startups, Icarus Quantum, Ingenii, Ki3 Photonics, and reOrbital, as well as another international partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

“Our community is strengthened by the talent, knowledge, and commitment of our new corporate and international partners,” said David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. “Collaboration is key to innovation and stability, and the CQE’s continued growth is a testament to the vibrancy of our ecosystem.”

These organizations join the more than 40 companies, nonprofits, and universities that participate in the CQE community. The CQE is headquartered at UChicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and anchored by the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Northwestern University. Duality, which accepted Great Lakes Crystal Technologies and Quantopticon as part of its inaugural cohort in 2021 and memQ as part of its second cohort in 2022, is the first accelerator in the United States focused exclusively on quantum startups. It is led by UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the CQE, along with founding partners UIUC, Argonne, and P33.

Duality Alumni Join as Corporate Partners

Quantopticon, which is in the process of moving its headquarters from the UK to Chicago, is developing a design and optimization software platform for quantum photonic devices. Founded in 2017 by mother-daughter duo Gaby Slavcheva, the chief scientific officer, and Mirella Koleva, the CEO, Quantopticon’s software simulates the behavior of quantum photonic devices driven by light pulses. This simulation eliminates the need to carry out repeated experiments to test and optimize experimental prototypes and has applications in quantum computing and ultra-secure quantum communications. The company aims to develop a suite of simulation tools for designing entire fault-tolerant quantum photonic integrated circuits, a key step in the creation of a future large-scale universal quantum photonic computer.

Great Lakes Crystal Technologies, with headquarters in East Lansing, Michigan, and in Chicago, is developing and manufacturing high-performance diamond materials for high-tech applications. Diamond is a critical component of many quantum technologies—including state-of-the-art computing and sensing—but it can be difficult to obtain. There are few manufacturers of synthetic diamond for advanced scientific applications in the United States, and better access to cost-effective diamond will benefit the fields of electronics and optics as well as quantum technology.  

Over the next few years, Great Lakes—which has received more than $5.5 million in federal grants since it launched in late 2019—hopes to establish both an applications laboratory and a fully-integrated Industry 4.0 manufacturing plant in the Midwest.

“We are thankful to the CQE team for their continuous pursuit of excellence in all things quantum,” said Keith Evans, CEO and co-founder of Great Lakes Crystal Technologies. “They have introduced us to world-class investors, talented undergraduate interns, tier 1 business advisors, and likely early adopters of our technology. They have included us in major research proposals and have helped us establish a growing number of important scientific collaborations. We’re thrilled to make our corporate partnership official.”

memQ, which is headquartered in Chicago, manufactures solid-state hardware for quantum networking applications. For qubits, their technology uses rare earth atoms, which are coherent for longer periods and are more resilient against noise than other types of quantum information systems; they are also compatible with the fiber optic communication infrastructure—meaning quantum data can travel on the same infrastructure that our regular data does. memQ is developing this platform to build quantum repeaters capable of generating, storing, and distributing quantum states—all on a single chip. This “holy grail” technology is necessary to make a larger-scale quantum internet possible.

“We are delighted to continue working closely with the CQE,” said Manish Singh, the CEO and cofounder of memQ. “Duality and CQE have been indispensable in our early growth, and we look forward to furthering this relationship and contributing to the CQE community.”

International Partners in India, Israel

ITT Bombay logo

The IIT Bombay in Mumbai, India, set up in 1958 as the second Indian Institute of Technology, is recognized worldwide as a leader in the field of engineering education and research. The university leads a robust research and development thrust in quantum technology, including state-of-the-art nanofabrication and measurement facilities, and equally strong academic and outreach programs for quantum.

IIT Bombay, which announced the new partnerships with the CQE and UChicago on September 9, also represents the CQE's first international partner on the Asian continent as the CQE continues to make more connections across the globe.

Technion — Israel Institute of Technology logo

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, Israel, is a public research university with a long history of major contributions to quantum research. The Technion’s broad and in-depth involvement in the field of quantum physics has only grown through the years, and in 2018, the Technion established the Hellen Diller Quantum Center, which incorporates world-class laboratories in photonics, non-linear optics, quantum dots, superconducting qubits, and cold atoms—all systems that are key to advancing the field of quantum technology.

Duality Welcomes Third Cohort

As a benefit of Duality, new startups joining the accelerator are automatically granted corporate partnership with the Chicago Quantum Exchange for one year. The four ventures accepted into the third cohort were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants from across the globe, vetted by an internal review process in partnership with Duality’s Technical Advisory Committee, and approved by Duality’s Governing Board.

  • Icarus Quantum, based in Boulder, Colorado, is developing scalable solutions for a secure quantum internet;
  • Ingenii, based in New York City, is accelerating the adoption of quantum computing within life and environmental science use cases;
  • Ki3 Photonics, based in Montreal, Canada, is developing photonics hardware for the generation and processing of broadband quantum signals;
  • reOrbital, based in Hermosa Beach, California, is using logistical innovation to mass produce quantum-enabling technological products in microgravity at scale.

Through Duality, each startup will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funding and mentorship from top quantum experts. Selected startups will have the opportunity to explore partnerships and access some of the region’s state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for advanced computing, nanofabrication, atomic-scale measurement, quantum testbeds, and other premier resources.

“It’s delightful to see our collective vision for Duality continue to thrive and impact the quantum ecosystem with such phenomenal momentum since we launched,” said Duality Director Ezunial (Eze) Burts III. “We are excited to welcome four startups into the third cohort of Duality and galvanize our powerful ecosystem to equip these innovators with the resources needed to scale their businesses. Not only are they rapidly developing quantum technology to tackle real-world problems, they are also creating jobs and high-performing teams that will generate economic impact across the city of Chicago, the broader region, and across the globe.”