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Berkeley Quantum to Accelerate Innovation in Quantum Information Science

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley partner to advance quantum information science to address the nation’s research challenges

Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry Nanofabrication clean room. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry Nanofabrication clean room. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley today announced the formation of Berkeley Quantum, a partnership designed to accelerate and expand innovation in quantum information science (QIS).

Berkeley Quantum will advance U.S. quantum capabilities by establishing powerful research alliances among UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab, and their partners. Participants in Berkeley Quantum projects contribute by bringing their strengths in QIS research, theory, algorithms, and applications to help solve, together, some of the most difficult problems in quantum science.

Berkeley Quantum will also facilitate the design, fabrication, and testing of quantum devices and technologies, and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers to ensure the nation has the workforce required to maintain a leadership role in QIS research for decades to come.

QIS harnesses the phenomenon of quantum coherence, in which two or more particles are so tightly entangled that a change to one simultaneously affects the other. Scientists are developing the tools and methods needed to utilize this phenomenon to hold, transmit, and process information. Manipulating and controlling the unique properties of the quantum world could lead to transformational advances, such as quantum computers that solve science problems that are far beyond the reach of today’s computers. It could also lead to new detectors for breakthroughs in physics and other disciplines, and ultra-secure ways to send and receive information, among other applications.

“Berkeley Quantum will leverage the core capabilities and strengths of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, and create a focal point for quantum information science and engineering in Berkeley and the broader San Francisco Bay Area tech ecosystem – for industry, academia, and national lab researchers,” says Berkeley Lab Deputy Director for Research Horst Simon.

UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz adds, “QIS represents one of the great scientific and technological races of the 21st Century. It brings an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionize computing to address larger, more complex problems, while also pushing the boundaries of basic research. Berkeley Quantum is perfectly positioned to bring together national priorities, world-class researchers, and practical deployment, in a setting that will educate and train a new generation of quantum scientists and engineers.”

Berkeley Quantum was referenced today during testimony before a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing that examined the Department of Energy’s efforts in QIS.

Irfan Siddiqi, Director of Berkeley Quantum, and a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and director of the Center for Quantum Coherent Science at UC Berkeley, served as an expert witness at the hearing. He outlined the tremendous potential of QIS, and discussed how Berkeley Quantum will accelerate and expand the nation’s capabilities.

Berkeley Quantum also builds on the longstanding commitment to QIS research at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab, where physicists, engineers, materials scientists, and computer scientists have been among quantum science’s leading researchers for more than a decade.

At the core of Berkeley Quantum will be the Advanced Quantum Testbed, announced yesterday and to be located at Berkeley Lab. The AQT will enable industry, academic, and lab researchers to explore superconducting quantum processors and evaluate how these emerging quantum devices can be utilized to advance scientific research.

The AQT is among a series of DOE Office of Science QIS awards announced yesterday. The Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, received two awards to develop research infrastructure to advance quantum information science. In one project, Molecular Foundry scientists will create a “nanofabrication cluster toolset,” or an integrated suite of high-fidelity instruments that will allow users to investigate the fundamental limits of state-of-the-art quantum systems. The second project will develop and integrate a unique suite of electron-beam based metrology techniques.

In addition, a multidisciplinary team led by Berkeley Lab will develop sensors that enlist the seemingly weird properties of quantum physics to probe for dark matter particles in new ways, with increased sensitivity and in previously unexplored energy regimes. Other Berkeley Lab-involved research projects will apply quantum information science to particle physics and computation.

Go here to read a news release that announces all of Berkeley Lab’s QIS awards.

The Berkeley Quantum ecosystem also includes other UC Berkeley centers, including the Center for Quantum Coherent Science, which creates novel quantum machines that harness coherence to explore and exploit fundamental properties of quantum mechanics, and the Berkeley Quantum Information & Computation Center, which works on fundamental issues in quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, quantum information theory, quantum control, and the experimental realization of quantum computers and quantum devices. Another valuable resource for quantum algorithms is the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, which brings together the world’s leading researchers in theoretical computer science and related fields, as well as the next generation of outstanding young scholars, to explore deep unsolved problems about the nature and limits of computation.

Berkeley Lab also leads a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center, which was announced in June. The Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials will contribute to understanding how the properties of important electronic and optical materials are related to underlying quantum coherence phenomena. It will also advance capabilities such as ultrasensitive quantum measurements of electric and magnetic fields.

In addition, Berkeley Lab operates several DOE Office of Science User Facilities that provide state-of-the-art resources for scientists to advance quantum science. These include the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), the Molecular Foundry, and the Advanced Light Source (ALS).

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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