(News.Chicago.edu) Two University of Chicago innovators developing quantum technologies are among six selected for Argonne National Laboratory’s entrepreneurship program, Chain Reaction Innovations, which helps scientists launch and scale businesses based on their innovative research.
Their ideas include ways to prepare for the quantum computer revolution and better infrared sensors, which could even potentially scan for COVID-19 fevers in passersby.
“The Chain Reaction Innovations program provides two years of intense support to help scientists learn how to de-risk science-based innovations and build a business around them,” said John A. Carlisle, the program’s director. “This way, they can successfully translate their discoveries into real applications that have high societal and economic impact.”
Beginning in June, each innovator from the new cohort will work full-time with a host scientist at UChicago-affiliated Argonne. They also will receive support from mentors at UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and mHUB.
Pranav Gokhale, a graduate student in quantum computer architecture at UChicago, has developed Super.tech as an extension of the National Science Foundation’s Enabling Practical-Scale Quantum Computation (EPiQC) research project.
A UChicago graduate student in physical chemistry, Matthew Ackerman since 2016 has been working to increase the technology readiness level of photodetectors based on mercury telluride colloidal quantum dots.
Ackerman said the approach is in contrast to the industry’s standard processes and will drive the cost-reduction of infrared technologies: “These quantum dot inks are solution processable, which enables low-cost, scalable manufacturing and simplifies the integration of the infrared absorber with the silicon readout electronics,” he explained.

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