A national quantum technology facility will soon be built in Colorado

The University of Colorado Boulder, the state’s largest college, received a $20 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to open what it is calling the “quantum machine shop of the 21st century.”

The facility, known as National Quantum Nanofab (NQN), will allow researchers and quantum scientists to design and build quantum devices, according to a statement from the university.

Quantum is the physics of the very small and very cold. Quantum tech can store more information and solve complex problems that are difficult, if not impossible, to solve with traditional computers, quantum experts say. Proponents of the technology say it can be used to fight infectious diseases, stabilize financial markets and more.

The NQN facility will take about five years to build and is expected to help transform quantum discoveries and research into technology and tools used that can have a greater impact on society, Scott Diddams, professor in the school’s department of electrical, computer and energy engineering, said in a statement.

Devices expected to come out of this facility will be smaller than the width of a human hair given that quantum is fundamentally small, Diddams said.

“A focus of the NQN will be on building quantum systems based on single ions, atoms and photons,” he said.

The new facility will be housed on CU’s East Campus in a new annex to the Sustainable, Energy and Environment Laboratory building.

It will be connected to the school’s existing Colorado Shared Instrumentation in Nanofabrication and Characterization (COSINC) facilities. COSINC is a research and service center that supports 50 departments by enabling scientific and tech innovations in photonics, quantum, energy, bio-medical, pharmaceutical, electronics and more.

The new NQN facility will include a clean room and nanofabrication tools to create new technologies. Examples of this new tech could include core components of quantum clocks and quantum computer chips, according to CU.

The NQN facility will also be open to students from CU and other colleges and universities, giving them a chance to learn the ins and outs of quantum and making nanodevices, the university said.

“I expect that as professors and students work in there and brush shoulders with people from our local companies, new opportunities will arise for people to learn and innovate together,” Diddams said.

Diddams will spearhead the maker space. Co-investigators of the facility include Cindy Regal, JILA’s Baur-SPIE chair in optical physics and photonics; Juliet Gopinath, a professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering; and Aju Jugessur, senior director of CU’s COSINC space.

“This new facility will significantly enhance CU Boulder’s quantum ecosystem by offering access to fabrication facilities that are unparalleled in the nation,” Massimo Ruzzene, CU’s vice chancellor for research and innovation and dean of the institutes, said in a statement. “This award further acknowledges the intellectual leadership of our quantum researchers, and the resulting facility will be transformational in terms of translating quantum discoveries into impactful technologies.”

Colorado is home to several quantum companies, including Atom ComputingQuantinuumInfleqtionVescent and Maybell Quantum Industries, and is working to receive billions in federal funding as a quantum tech hub to create more industry jobs and attract additional quantum companies to the region.

Colorado and the Mountain West Region became a federal quantum tech hub in October and will learn about additional funding within the next few months.

Article from Biz Journals