Research Areas

The Chicago Quantum Exchange connects researchers and institutions at the forefront of theory and experiments across a broad spectrum of quantum science research areas.

This includes either directly participating in and/or promoting the work of nationally funded quantum centers led by our member institutions.

The potential technologies to come from quantum research are as varied as they are exciting: computers that can solve previously unsolvable problems, sensors that can detect the tiniest change in the environment, and new kinds of unbreakable encryption and secure communication over vast distances.

Learn more about this work and key researchers in each of our major research areas:

Quantum Sensing

Chicago Quantum Exchange researchers are currently working to develop quantum sensors with applications in a wide range of areas, from biology to high energy physics.

Quantum Communications

Quantum communication research applies the laws of quantum physics to protecting and transmitting data in a secure and effectively unhackable manner.

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing’s distinct power exploits properties unavailable to classical computers. Once fully developed, quantum computers will be able to leverage those properties to efficiently solve scientific and technological problems that are impossible even for today’s most powerful supercomputers.

Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed matter physics explores the exotic behaviors that emerge in a material or fluid when quantum particles within it interact.

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Atomic, molecular and optical physics is the study of how light and matter interact. The field has produced an extremely exciting set of tools for creating and probing many of today’s most exotic quantum systems.

Quantum Chemistry

Quantum chemistry studies how the laws of quantum mechanics can be applied to chemical models and experiments on chemical systems. It encompasses quantum phenomena at all levels, such as the electronic structure of matter and its interaction with light, energy and charge flow, the collective behavior of complex ensembles, and the quantum chemical dynamics of time-evolving systems.

Quantum Materials

Quantum materials research links together a wide spectrum of areas, allowing theory, experiments, and fabrication to come together to both understand and employ these unique properties for scientific applications, such as aircraft development and scientific optical tools.

Quantum Optics

Quantum optics harnesses interacting photons (individual particles of light) and atoms to explore the fundamental limits of the physical world and understand how light and matter can interact with one another on a multitude of levels.


Nanomechanics has emerged at the crossroads of classical mechanics, solid-state physics, statistical mechanics, materials science, and quantum chemistry and employs these fundamental principles in the development of nanodevices.

Topological Physics

Topological physics is the study of the microscopic geometries and symmetries that lead to particular phenomena. The properties of topological materials emerge from patterns of long-range quantum entanglement and could theoretically be employed to create a topological quantum computer.

Device Physics

Researchers in device physics work to design and construct devices that can control electrons and photons for use in sensing and detection, information processing, and studying the fundamental properties of matter.

High Energy & Particle Physics

In high-energy and particle physics, researchers study nature at its most fundamental level, investigating particles that make up both ordinary and exotic forms of matter as well as cosmological phenomena such as dark matter.