Research News

UB hosts quantum science and engineering conference

Researchers at the conference pose for a photo.

The workshop includes researchers from UB, Stony Brook University, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany and other institutions.

By CORY NEALON

Published October 23, 2019

headshot of Vasili Perebeinos.
“The State University of New York, especially the University at Buffalo, has some of the world’s foremost experts in quantum technology. These experts are gathering this week at UB to chart our collective path forward.”
Vasili Perebeinos, professor
Department of Electrical Engineering

Leaders in quantum science and engineering are meeting this week at UB to further a statewide push into this emerging field of research.

The Distributed Quantum Systems Enhanced by Materials Design workshop, which began Monday and wraps up today, is being held at various locations on the North Campus.

The workshop is the result of two grants — one awarded to a UB-led team of researchers, the other to a research team led by Stony Brook University — recently announced by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes program.

“The State University of New York, especially the University at Buffalo, has some of the world’s foremost experts in quantum technology. These experts are gathering this week at UB to chart our collective path forward,” says the UB team’s principal investigator, Vasili Perebeinos, professor of electrical engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Quantum technology seeks to harness the unique properties of atoms and subatomic particles such as electrons and photons. Industry leaders such as Google, IBM, Microsoft and Intel are all investing in quantum research, and in 2018, Congress passed the National Quantum Initiative Act, a plan to spend billions of dollars exploring the field.

Experts say quantum technology could lead to breakthrough technologies in computing, health and medicine, cryptography, materials science and other fields.

NSF awarded 18 grants nationwide for the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes program. Each research team received a 12-month award to develop a proposal for a larger quantum science and engineering grant from NSF that could provide as much as $25 million over five years.

To submit a more competitive grant application, the UB-led and Stony Brook-led research teams are combining efforts to submit one proposal through SUNY. This week’s workshop — which includes researchers from UB, Stony Brook, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany and other institutions — will allow attendees to discuss the proposal, as well as advancements in quantum science and engineering.

Quanxi Jia, professor in UB’s Department of Materials Design and Innovation, a joint program of SEAS and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), is a co-principal investigator of the grant. Additional co-principal investigators include Fatemeh “Shadi” Shahedipour-Sandvik (SUNY Poly), Dimitri Kharzeev (Stony Brook) and Andrea Alù (City University of New York).

UB’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development played a key role in developing the team’s proposal to the NSF. The partnership between the office and the UB researchers will continue as the team moves forward with development of the full proposal with Stony Brook and other SUNY institutions.

While the UB-led proposal focuses on quantum materials and devices, the Stony Brook-led team is centered on quantum communications and networking. It is led by Eden Figueroa, associate professor in Stony Brook’s Department of Physics and Astronomy with a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Xuedong Hu, UB professor of physics, is co-principal investigator on the award.

Key partners for the development and submission of the joint proposal will include Brookhaven and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

The researchers will spend the next 12 months strengthening their proposal and identifying key partners in industry, academia and government. An international quantum technology conference is also being planned for next year.

Published October 23, 2017