(FNAL) Fermilab is the lead laboratory for the Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center, which joins together 20 institutions to bring about revolutionary advances in quantum computing and sensing with the goal of building and deploying a beyond-state-of-the-art quantum computer.
In a separate effort, Fermilab also plays a key role in another center — Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Quantum Science Center, or QSC. QSC unites Oak Ridge’s powerhouse capabilities in supercomputing and materials science with Fermilab’s world-class high-energy physics instrumentation and measurement expertise and facilities.
Fermilab’s role in QSC advances research in three key areas:
1) Bringing down the noise
The first is in the design of qubits, devices that hold one quantum bit of information. Using Fermilab’s facilities built for dark matter experiments, Quantum Science Center researchers will test and operate topological qubits and novel quantum materials developed by QSC partners.
2)Examining exotic materials
Quantum-computer architects ask a great deal of their qubits. Whereas classical semiconductor computers store information using large numbers of electrons, future quantum computers must be able to control and read out information stored in single quantum excitations.
3) Extreme electronics
To simulate the performance of these exotic materials, QSC scientists will use a quantum simulator based on a technology called an “ion trap.” Unlike a quantum computer, which controls information, a quantum simulator lets information encoded in a physical system evolve naturally to better understand what happens in the real world.
Scientist Aaron Chou, the Fermilab lead for the Quantum Science Center at Oak Ridge explained, “We’re working on something that is worthy of the DOE national labs, taking on problems that are sufficiently challenging and that could not be done easily without the infrastructure and expertise of the national lab system.”