The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded funding to two scientists at its Argonne National Laboratory to advance research in quantum information science: David Awschalom and Oleg Poluektov.
The DOE awards support the development of quantum-smart devices and quantum computing technology, next-generation tools that can solve today’s most pressing challenges, including in national security, novel material development and logistics.
“Quantum science represents the next technological revolution and frontier in the Information Age, and America stands at the forefront,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “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.”
Awschalom, an Argonne senior scientist, received the award to further the science needed to develop a metropolitan-scale quantum information network — analogous to the internet — without the need for quantum repeater technologies. Quantum repeaters retransmit a signal that would otherwise weaken before reaching its destination in a quantum network.
Using a three-node fiber network in Chicagoland as a testbed for transferring quantum information, Awschalom’s project is to develop repeaterless quantum networking technologies and protocols under real-world conditions, including multinode quantum networking, synchronizing different types of quantum nodes and distributing quantum entanglement (a property of subatomic particles).
The metropolitan-scale repeaterless technology and fiber-network protocol development complement the chip-scale quantum technologies and repeater protocols being developed within Q-NEXT, a DOE National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by Argonne.
“I’m pleased to receive this award, which allows us to explore the science that underlies future game-changing quantum communication technologies,” said Awschalom, who is also the director of Q-NEXT; the University of Chicago Liew Family professor in molecular engineering and physics and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering vice dean for research and infrastructure; and the director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. “We are at the cusp of a revolution in quantum science, and discoveries we make here will have far-reaching impacts, leading to breakthroughs in areas as diverse as finance and medicine — and even beyond what we can imagine.”