Quantum News Briefs July 30: Quantum Technology & Federal Government Policy & Funding, SEEQC’s DOE Grant, Duality’s New Cohort of Startups, with Research Updates from Germany & China

By Sandra Helsel posted 30 Jun 2022

Quantum News Briefs opens today with a deep-dive into the Federal government’s increased spending and policy directives to spur quantum technology in the USA followed by the announcement of a Federal DOE grant to SEEQC, and thirdly by information on Duality’s new cohort of startups. Two research briefs round out the day with findings from U of Paderborn on the manipulation of light for future quantum tech and from China’s Tsinghua University’s successful enhancement of quantum sensing.

Where is Quantum Technology Going in the Federal Government?

Washington, DC-based journalist Natalie Gross gives a deep look in FedTech magazine at the US government’s measures to make advances in the QIS field–which includes quantum sensing, computing, networking and isotope production —while working to mitigate potential ways that using this type of technology could backfire on national security. Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
The U.S. budget for QIS research and development was roughly $900 million in fiscal 2022. That’s approximately double what the U.S. spent in this area in fiscal 2019, according to a report by the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science.  A national security memorandum maintained  “while the full range of applications of quantum computers is still unknown, it is nevertheless clear that America’s continued technological and scientific leadership will depend, at least in part, on the nation’s ability to maintain a competitive advantage in quantum computing and QIS.”
Thyagarajan Nandagopal, division director for the Division of Innovation and Technology Ecosystems at NSF, told FedTech that quantum computing has the potential to make daily government processes more efficient.
Cybersecurity remains top of mind. A 2021 National Security Agency document on quantum computing explains that National Security Systems that carry classified or otherwise sensitive military or intelligence information rely on public key cryptography as a critical component for protecting the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity of national security information. Related: Inside Quantum Technology New York: The World’s Quantum Cybersecurity Event  on October 25-27 will provide comprehensive coverage of quantum cybersecurity.
The NSA doc explains, “Without effective mitigation, the impact of adversarial use of a quantum computer could be devastating to NSS and our nation, especially in cases where such information needs to be protected for many decades,” it notes. The Biden administration plans to address these possibilities by maintaining U.S. leadership in QIS by continuing to invest, partner and take a balanced approach to technology promotion and protection.

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SEEQC Awarded $400,000 DOE Grant for Small Business R&D

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced that SEEQC, the digital quantum computing platform for global business, will receive two grants totaling $400,000. The grants are a part of several Department of Energy (DOE) grants totaling $53 million, distributed to 210 small businesses in 38 states. The grant will further SEEQC’s research and development as it pertains to the discovery of clean energy and climate solutions, and support the company’s mission to deliver useful, energy-efficient quantum computing systems that are cost-effective and commercially scalable for problem-specific applications.
The first grant, titled “Development of Fabrication Process for Controlling Phononic Thermal Transport to Improve Qubit Performance,” supports the development of a novel method to protect qubits from external disturbance such as cosmic rays. The new process will address phonon-induced decoherence, leveraging SEEQC’s current fabrication process to make unique phonon blocking features. The second grant, titled “Process Development for Commercial Manufacturing of Micromachined Millimeter Wave Components,” will enable SEEQC to participate in a technology transfer. This transfer will establish SEEQC as an industry partner creating microfabricated silicon-based millimeter wave components at its New York based foundry.

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Duality, the nation’s first accelerator exclusively for quantum companies, has accepted five startups from across the globe into the second cohort of the year-long accelerator based in Chicago, IL. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the announcement.
Launched in April 2021, Duality is a first-of-its-kind accelerator aimed at supporting next-generation startups focused on quantum science and technology. The 12-month program provides world-class business and entrepreneurship training from its partner institutions and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Duality Cohort 2:
Icosa Computing // A US-based startup building quantum computing and physics-enhanced optimizers for financial institutions
memQ // A US-based company building technology to enable the quantum internet
Quantescence // A France- and US-based quantum computing software startup that has created a quantum emulator platform
=SCALINQ // A Sweden-based startup developing unique packaging solutions for superconducting quantum chips
Wave Photonics // A UK-based startup using computational techniques to accelerate integrated photonics design

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Nanostructured Surfaces for Future quantum Computer Chips

Researchers at Paderborn University, working under Professor Thomas Zentgraf and in cooperation with colleagues from the Australian National University and Singapore University of Technology and Design, have developed a new technology for manipulating light that can be used as a basis for future optical quantum computers. Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
New optical elements for manipulating light will allow for more advanced applications in modern information technology, particularly in quantum computers. However, a major challenge that remains is non-reciprocal light propagation through nanostructured surfaces, where these surfaces have been manipulated at a tiny scale.
“Maybe we will see an application in future optical quantum computers where the directed production of individual photons using frequency conversion plays an important role,” says Zentgraf.

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Enhanced Quantum Sensing Via Quantum Error Correction In A Superconducting Quantum System

In collaboration with Changling Zou’s group at the University of Science and Technology of China, Luyan Sun’s group at the Center for Quantum Information of Tsinghua University demonstrated the enhancement of quantum sensing via bosonic quantum error correction codes in a superconducting quantum system for the first time.
This is the first demonstration of a QEC-based quantum radiometry with a bosonic probe. It shows that QEC can be used to improve the performance of quantum sensing. This scheme can be extended to trapped ion systems and the emerging quantum acoustic platform. Our work on approximate QEC-enhanced sensing also presents a conceptual advance in near-term quantum applications, reveals its significant difference from the conventional applications of QEC in storing quantum information, and would stimulate further theoretical and experimental ideas for quantum sensing.
Read more here.

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Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990.  She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

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