Florida State University (FSU) has recently announced a significant investment in quantum science research, reflecting the university’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technology. With $20 million dedicated to quantum science, FSU aims to build a quantum research and education program that will pave the way for breakthroughs in quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum materials. “This funding will allow FSU Quantum to support at least eight new faculty members who complement our existing faculty working in physics, engineering, chemistry, computer science, and other relevant fields,” explained FSU President Richard McCullough in an interview with Inside Quantum Technology. “It will also provide for specialized equipment and dedicated space in the new Interdisciplinary Research and Commercialization Building, currently under construction.”
FSU’s quantum research program will explore the use of quantum communication, which uses the principles of quantum mechanics to transmit information securely. Quantum communication is resistant to eavesdropping and interception, making it ideal for sensitive applications such as financial transactions, government communications, and military operations. FSU’s researchers will investigate ways to use quantum communication to create unbreakable encryption and to transmit information over long distances. Many of the University’s researchers have partnered with private companies to achieve results, something that McCullough believes will only continue in the future. “FSU has partnered with several companies in the area of superconductivity to help develop tools that further enable advancements in quantum science,” he stated. “Examples include a partnership with Oxford Instruments to develop high-temperature superconducting materials, a ready-to-use superconducting cable system with Advanced Conductor Technologies, and partnerships with superconducting magnet manufacturer Cryomagnetics and Tallahassee-based Energy to Power Solutions.”
Another area of focus for FSU’s quantum research program is quantum materials, which are materials that exhibit quantum properties at the macroscopic scale. These materials can be used to create new types of electronic devices, such as quantum sensors and quantum transistors, that operate at the quantum level. FSU’s researchers will explore the properties of various types of quantum materials and develop new methods for synthesizing and manipulating them. “College of Arts and Sciences faculty have a major role to play in FSU’s emerging quantum science focus, and we are enthusiastic partners in this exciting initiative,” said Sam Huckaba, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in a recent announcement. “In particular, our expertise in chemistry, computer science, and physics will anchor the university’s early participation, and other disciplines will join as these endeavors coalesce.”
To support its quantum research program, FSU plans to create a state-of-the-art quantum science and engineering facility that will house a range of cutting-edge equipment and resources. The facility will include a quantum computing lab, a quantum communication lab, and a quantum materials lab, as well as a cleanroom for fabricating and testing quantum devices. FSU will also offer a range of educational programs and opportunities for students and researchers, including undergraduate and graduate courses, summer research internships, and postdoctoral fellowships. As McCullough added: “One of our key goals is to help build a quantum workforce that can meet the coming technical challenges and job market demands. The university’s investment aims to recruit top-level graduate students and postdoctoral researchers through multiple fellowships. Their research and training will drive this field forward… This could include: creating a core curriculum for quantum science and engineering majors within existing graduate degree tracks; offering certificates for undergraduates taking specifically designed upper-level electives; and providing internship opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students through partnerships with private industry and national labs.”
FSU’s investment in quantum science reflects its commitment to staying at the forefront of scientific research and innovation. By developing new technologies and methods in quantum science, FSU hopes to make a significant contribution to fields such as computing, communication, and materials science. “Quantum science and engineering is poised to make major breakthroughs possible in computing, cryptography, sensing, and other technologies,” stated McCullough. “FSU Quantum plans to build on our strengths in physics, chemistry, magnetism, quantum materials, quantum information, superconductors, spectroscopy, and cryogenics to produce impactful research.” With its world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and strong partnerships with industry and government, FSU is well-positioned to become a leader in quantum science research and education.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology.