Santa Clara University

The Superconducting Quantum Materials & Systems Center, at Fermilab, is one of 5 research centers funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy as part of a national initiative to develop and deploy the world’s most powerful quantum computers and sensors. SQMS brings together 400+ experts from 28 institutions—national labs, academia and industry—in a multidisciplinary collaboration that integrates expertise in quantum information science, material science, computing, physics, controls engineering and more

  • Department: SQMS Center

  • E-mail:

  • We are a public sector organization and we plan to involve industry partners

  • Looking for: Researcher (multidisciplinary),Researcher (scientific/technical/engineering)
  • Track: Challenges (call opens February 2023),Open Ideas (call opens February 2023),Paired Teams (call open November 2022)
  • Preferred hosting duration: No preference

  • 10 Challenges for the call that opens in February 2023 :

    • Challenge 1:

    Quantum information science and quantum algorithms. The candidate will contribute to the hosting center mission to achieve transformational advances in the major cross-cutting of enabling construction and deployment of superior systems for quantum computing. The SQMS quantum computing platforms will offer a powerful new alternative to simulation techniques used by classical computers. In a co-design cycle with hardware development, researchers are tailoring algorithms to efficiently process information on these platforms.

    • Challenge 2:

    Material science. The center is very much focused to pursue transformational advances in quantum coherence time at the materials and device level, which will ultimately enable quantum advantage. This can only be reached by developing a solid understanding of the physics and the materials science underlying these devices.

    • Challenge 3:

    Applied and theoretical superconductivity. One of the main devices used for quantum computing based on superconducting architectures is the transmon qubit, which relies on a component called a Josephson junction. In such a junction, a thin layer of electrical insulator is placed between two pieces of superconducting material. By carefully controlling an electrical current flow across the junction, researchers can store and manipulate quantum information. SQMS is on a mission to bring dramatic performance improvement to these devices.

    • Challenge 4:

    Computational science. The center has a group of a diverse set of nearly 50 researchers in quantum information and computation. The group made progress on understanding advantages and algorithms that can run efficiently on the Rigetti Computing hardware. Rigetti has upgraded its stack to achieve an 80-qubit processor.

    • Challenge 5:

    Sensors for particle physics applications. SQMS researchers are combining SRF cavities and the technology at the heart of superconducting quantum computers to answer fundamental physics questions. Within the quantum sensing thrust, researchers are developing experiments based on novel quantum devices to search for particles beyond the Standard Model, dark matter candidates, gravitational waves and fundamental material properties. The exquisite sensitivity of the Center’s high-coherence devices, combined with the power of quantum physics, offers new platforms with reach into unexplored regimes.

    • Challenge 6:

    Condensed matter physics. In condensed matter, the SQMS Center has embarked on an effort to develop quantum simulations of spin materials and dynamics. We have focused on Kitaev spin models in two geometries that are well-suited to existing Rigetti hardware.

    • Challenge 7:

    Cryogenics. In addition to the existing Fermilab quantum measurements labs, an important milestone is the successful award of six new dilution refrigerators at Fermilab, which will be the SQMS quantum testbeds for quantum computing, sensing and communication research. The ~6000 square feet of lab space have been fully renovated and is ready to receive the units, two of them already arrived at the time of writing. Moreover, SQMS is building a world-record size dilution refrigerator. This 2m testbed will support large-scale quantum computing systems and experiments operating at milli-Kelvin temperatures. The platform will also serve as a demonstration of commercial helium refrigeration systems with dilution refrigerators and the team is working towards a final design [51]. The project has attracted significant interest from industry (Rigetti, IBM, and Form Factor) for handling of future quantum computing data centers.

    • Challenge 8:

    Microwave devices. The Microwave Systems Department is responsible for simulations, optimization, RF and mechanical design, manufacturing and tests of SRF cavities for 3D qubits, new particle search beyond the standard model, microwave-optical transducers and material property measurements at sub-Kelvin temperatures.

    • Challenge 9:

    Controls engineering. Electrical engineers are welcome for the device integration and quantum controls development for 2D and 3D superconducting architectures and create quantum computer prototypes with transformational performance in coherence and control.

    • Challenge 10:

    Microwave-optical quantum transduction. In order to address the problem of scaling up, SQMS envisions coupling several multi-cell units in a linear or planar geometry to increase computation power. Fermilab’s extensive expertise in preserving the ultra-high-quality factors when aligning hundreds of cavities will be crucial in this high-risk/high-reward scaling approach. A suitable innovative option which SQMS is studying is to utilize quantum transduction to couple remote modules.