TQT’s Quantum Quest Seed Fund awarded to eight new projects spanning quantum materials to quantum dots
Developing new two-dimensional (2D) quantum materials and heterostructures to advance quantum technology development are among the goals of the eight projects supported by the 10th and 11th cycles of the Quantum Quest Seed Fund.
The Quantum Quest Seed Fund (QQSF) is designed to encourage quantum innovation across the grand challenges of the Transformative Quantum Technologies (TQT) program. The QQSF supports TQT’s mission to accelerate the development and deployment of impactful quantum devices through new ideas and applications across diverse fields. Since 2018, 11 rounds of seed funding have distributed over $3M across 35 seed projects. During the most recent 10th and 11th cycles, eight projects were awarded close to $707,000 in funding.
Using magnetic materials to advance quantum technology development
Three of the recently funded projects exploit magnetic material properties to advance quantum technology development. In the first project, Dr. Pavle Radovanovic seeks to develop new nanostructured materials with correlated ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties that can uniquely store data simultaneously in the electric polarization and magnetic moment degrees of freedom. His team hopes to use these materials for device architectures with improved properties for quantum communication technologies, including information processing and memory storage applications, by optimizing the interactions between the ferroelectric and ferromagnetic components.
In collaboration with Dr. Germán Sciani, Dr. Adam Wei Tsen hopes to use magnetic quantum materials to build exotic spintronic and high-frequency sensors with functionalities unavailable to traditional materials. The researchers will investigate the current- and gate-dependent spin accumulation and polarization that accompanies the nonlinear anomalous Hall effect (NLAHE) in layered semimetals, providing a new route for the electrical control of magnetism. The NLAHE can also be used as a sensitive detector of radiofrequency, terahertz, and infrared waves.
In a separately funded project, Tsen also aims to interface 2D magnets with topological semimetals to generate magnons that can act as ideal transducers to transmit quantum information and subsequently advance the realization of hybrid quantum systems. Using 2D magnets with specific properties, the researchers can also induce more exotic collective quantum states, such as quantum spin liquids (QSLs) and magnon Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), that can potentially be used as a platform for noise-tolerant quantum computing.
Advancing quantum computing capabilities through novel quantum materials and devices
In typical neuromorphic computing, electrical circuits that emulate artificial neural networks can store information and perform computations. Dr. Matteo Mariantoni wants to take this one step further and develop quantum memory capacitors based on superconducting integrated quantum circuits. This novel computation technology is known as Quantum Neuromorphic Computing (QNC). Developing QNC experimentally for the first time will boost quantum computation technology and make it possible to study the quantum-mechanical properties of new devices that act as artificial neurons.
In collaboration with several experimentalists in the United States and South Korea, Dr. Youngki Yoon proposes the design of a revolutionary multi-valued-logic quantum device for highly energy-efficient electronics. Their research will be a step towards achieving advanced quantum technology to minimize the global digital carbon footprint. The quantum simulation tool and prototype ternary devices developed through this project will not only help build ultra-low-power electronics for sustainable computing but will also elevate our knowledge in material science, quantum physics, and electronics.
Dr. Zbig Wasilewski and collaborator Dr. Michael Reimer aim to advance quantum computing, quantum sensing, and quantum communication by combining research conducted by Dr. Maria Chekhoby at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and Dr. Mikhail Belkin at the Walter Schottky Institute. The researchers will develop new quantum optical metasurfaces to enable the next generation of complex entangled photonic quantum states. This project benefits from the synergies between the Canadian and German institutes and presents an opportunity for UWaterloo to bolster its strength in this quickly-growing stream of quantum photonic research.
Quantum dot applications will improve the performance of existing technology
The rapid development of wearable health devices, medical implants, wireless sensors and micro-electromechanical systems have stimulated the increasing demands for compatible miniaturized energy storage devices such as micro-supercapacitors (MCs). Dr. Aiping Yu has previously shown that graphene quantum dots used as the electrode material boosts the performance of MCs over conventional materials. Her work funded through the QQSF will use layered transition metal carbines, carbonitrides, or nitride (MXene) quantum dots to enhance this energy density further. This work presents a step forward in improving the performance of MC systems and readiness for commercial deployment.
Dr. Michael Reimer is taking a different approach with semiconductor quantum dots, aiming to develop a photonic quantum processor based on integrated quantum photonic circuits using quantum dot light sources. Reimer plans to demonstrate that on-demand entangled photon sources based on quantum dots in photonic nanowires can significantly boost the speed, efficiency, and scalability of quantum operations compared to the current state-of-the-art system, paving the path for quantum communication to solve complex problems and extending the distance of quantum communication. To achieve the latter application, Reimer will develop on-chip quantum photonic circuits for demonstrating entanglement swapping, an essential part of a quantum repeater node.
Quantum Quest awardees
- Spin Generation and High-Frequency Detection via the Quantum Nonlinear Anomalous Hall Effect in Weyl Semimetals
- Adam Wei Tsen, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Institute for Quantum Computing
- Photonic Quantum Processor
- Michael Reimer, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Quantum Computing
- Coherent magnon generation, magnon condensation, and quantum spin liquids via spin pumping in 2D magnets
- Adam Wei Tsen, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Institute for Quantum Computing
- Micro-Supercapacitors Based on Termination Optimized MXene Quantum Dots with Ultra-High Rate Capability and Fast Frequency Response
- Aiping Yu, University Research Chair & Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
- Building Blocks for Quantum Neuromorphic Computing: Superconducting Quantum Memcapacitors
- Matteo Mariantoni, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy and Institute for Quantum Computing
- Enabling Next-Generation Sustainable Computing through Novel Multi-Valued-Logic Quantum Devices
- Youngki Yoon, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Metasurfaces for high-efficiency parametric downconversion and complex quantum state generation
- Zbig Wasilewski, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
- Magnetoelectric Coupling in New Composite Multiferroic Nanostructures as High-Density Quantum Multistate Memory Elements
- Pavle Radovanovic, Professor, Department of Chemistry
See past awardees:
Since its inception, the QQSF has led to quantum breakthroughs in areas across researchers at Waterloo, such as a new research direction on DNA/RNA quantum sensors based on nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamonds. Dr. Mohammad Kohandel, professor in the Applied Mathematics Department and the Institute for Quantum Computing, obtained a QQSF award to develop functionalized nanodiamonds for sensing biochemical processes. While the initial application of the work was to use the nitrogen-vacancy sensors in nanodiamonds as optical sensors and drug delivery probes for chemotherapy, the work expanded into new testing technology for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Using the methods proposed in their initial project, the research team theoretically showed that their nanodiamond quantum sensors can produce quick diagnostic results with a one percent margin of error, a substantial advancement over current diagnostic techniques.
Dr. Michal Bajcsy, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute for Quantum Computing, demonstrated a polarization dichroic mirror for circularly polarized light based on a chiral photonic-crystal slab that selectively reflects or transmits photons depending on their spin through seed funding awarded in 2018. These mirrors present a high-impact breakthrough in the field of photonics, opening new avenues for realizing all-optical devices with applications ranging from studying the arrangement of molecules in a drug to protecting against counterfeit currency.
Previous QQSF-supported projects conducted by Dr. Adam Wei Tsen have not only led to numerous publications in high-impact journals but have also influenced his future research directions. As demonstrated through his work on two-dimensional quantum materials and heterostructures, Tsen is capable of fabricating high-quality heterostructures and has made seminal contributions to the field of 2D magnetism. This positions him well to study the impacts of these materials on quantum technology. For example, his proposal on coherent magnon generation in 2D magnets is a first step in developing more efficient devices for hybrid quantum systems and quantum computing. Further, Tsen’s previous project demonstrating a record-breaking nonlinear anomalous Hall effect (NLAHE) in semimetals is the basis for his proposal to detect spin accumulation, polarization, and high-frequency waves in semimetals for spintronics and sensors device applications.
The QQSF continues to expand the quantum community at the University of Waterloo, with three projects awarded in the most recent rounds supporting faculty outside of IQC (overall, the QQSF has brought 19 awards to faculty outside of IQC) and also three being led by first-time awardees. Seed funding continues to reach broadly across campus, with projects across ten departments. TQT is set to announce cycle 12 later this year and hopes to see further engagement across all faculties at UWaterloo.
TQT is funded in part thanks to the Canada First Excellence Research Fund (CFREF).