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Northwestern wins major Quantum Information Science grant - Anna Grassellino and James Sauls

August 28, 2020

We are happy to share that the DOE have selected the following project for funding SQMS: Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center.

The amount of funding is $115M over five years. SQMS is one of five DOE Centers to be selected. According to Harriet Chung, Deputy Director for Science Programs in the DOE Office of Science, “[t]hese Centers will combine the full strength of National Labs, universities, and public and private sector partners to lead the sustained and coordinated research and development of quantum information technologies.”

The proposal was led by Fermilab Scientist Dr. Anna Grassellino (courtesy appointment in Physics and Astronomy), with Prof. James Sauls (Physics and Astronomy) playing a key, co-leadership role. You can read more about the research plans of SQMS at their web site: The SQMS website also includes a video featuring Man Nguyen and Andrew Zimmerman, both members of the Halperin low-temperature physics group, and Jovan Nelson, a member of the Stern group. As Dr. Grassellino explains in the video, the SQMS brings together experts in the fields of superconductivity, materials science, superconducting quantum devices, particle physics, computational science, and cryogenics at a national and international level. The chief academic institution supporting SQMS is Northwestern. The joint Fermilab-Northwestern Center for Applied Physics and Superconducting Technology (CAPST) has spearheaded this project, with important contributions from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, in particular, from the Center for Fundamental Physics (CFP). Aside from the revolutionary science to be done, SQMS will provide exceptional, even unique, training opportunities for students and postdocs. Just as important, this training comes with connections and pathways into quantum-based industries.

One of the main objectives of SQMS is to understand deeply and improve quantum coherence for realistic devices. The quantum information revolution anticipated by scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs around the world requires longer quantum coherence times. Thus, the research thrust of SQMS is aimed right at the core of quantum information science and technology.

Department of Physics and Astronomy members had strong involvement in the project including: Jens Koch, Gerald Gabrielse (CFP Director), Michelle Driscoll, Venkat Chandrasekhar, Andy Geraci, Tim Kovachy, William Halperin; and with courtesy appointments: Alex Romanenko, Michael Bedzyk, Prem Kumar, and Selim Shahriar. Of the other leaders in SQMS, Panagiotis Spentzouris is a former NU grad, advised by Heidi Schellman, and Yonatan Kahn is a former NU undergrad. Altogether, seventeen Northwestern faculty are affiliated with SQMS.
A key feature of the SQMS collaboration is its interdisciplinary nature. At Northwestern there is important representation from Materials Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering (McCormick) in addition to Physics & Astronomy (Weinberg CAS); the Rigetti Corporation plays a key role as do Ames Laboratory and NIST.

Continue to the full article on Northwestern News and Office for Research.

Congratulations Anna, Jim, and the rest of the SQMS Team!