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DOE Launches $115M, 5-Year Effort to Create 5 Quantum Research Centers

Today the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the creation of five new Quantum Information Science Research Centers, led by DOE’s National Laboratories, including Q-NEXT, led by  Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Ill.

Q-NEXT will be funded by DOE at $115 million over five years, with $15 million in fiscal year 2020 and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.  Additional funding from partner organizations totals $93 million. The State of Illinois General Assembly also directed $200 million in FY 2020 funding to develop infrastructure for quantum science and technology.

“Q-NEXT brings together nearly 100 world-class researchers from three national laboratories, 10 universities and 10 leading U.S. technology companies with the single goal of developing the science and technology to control and distribute quantum information,” DOE said in its announcement. “These activities, along with a focus on rapid commercialization of new technologies, will support the emerging ​‘quantum economy’ and ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront in this rapidly advancing field.”

As part of its mission, Q-NEXT will create two national foundries for quantum materials – one at Argonne and one at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory – designed to act as a single ​“quantum factory,” producing a supply chain of standardized materials and devices to support both known and future quantum-enabled applications. It will also create a first-ever National Quantum Devices Database for the standardization of next-generation quantum devices.

David Awschalom

“The world is on the cusp of a technological revolution,” said David Awschalom, Q-NEXT director, Argonne senior scientist, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. “Through the collaborative efforts of the national laboratories, universities and companies actively involved in Q-NEXT, we will develop instrumentation to explore and control the quantum properties of matter and translate these discoveries into technologies that benefit society,” ​“This partnership is essential to create a domestic supply chain of new quantum materials and devices for a robust quantum economy.”

DOE said Q-NEXT will focus on three core quantum technologies:

  • Communication for the transmission of quantum information across long distances including quantum repeaters, enabling the establishment of ​“unhackable” networks for information transfer
  • Sensors that achieve unprecedented sensitivities with transformational applications in physics, materials and life sciences
  • Processing and utilizing ​“test beds” both for quantum simulators and future full-stack universal quantum computers with applications in quantum simulations, cryptanalysis and logistics optimization

Q-NEXT will also educate the next-generation quantum workforce through training programs with industry, academia and government to ensure continued U.S. scientific and economic leadership in this rapidly advancing field.

“The fundamental discoveries and technological advances enabled by Q-NEXT will expedite the coming quantum technology revolution and build the quantum workforce of the future. This is a very exciting time,” said JoAnne Hewett, Q-NEXT deputy director and associate laboratory director for fundamental physics and chief research officer at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Argonne and SLAC are joined in the collaboration by 21 partners embedded in Q-NEXT. For more information, go to: https://www.q-next.org/partnerships/

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