September 24, 2018

The future is now: Purdue Quantum Center projects picked for NSF initiative

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Quantum research at Purdue University is taking great leaps studying the smallest of particles with Monday’s (Sept. 24) announcement of two projects picked for the National Science Foundation’s Quantum Leap Initiative.

The projects were two of only 25 picked by the NSF for the new initiative, which will use quantum mechanics to observe, manipulate and control the behavior of particles and energy at atomic and subatomic scales, resulting in next-generation technologies.

Andrew Weiner, the Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Sunil Bhave, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, are the principal investigators for the two projects.

Each project was awarded $1 million as part of the NSF initiative’s Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems.

Two additional projects from Purdue each were awarded $300,000 recently in NSF funding: one led by Leonid Rokhinson, a professor of physics and astronomy, and another led by Pramey Upadhyaya, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, with co-principal investigators Yong Chen, director of the Purdue Quantum Center, and Vladimir Shalaev, the Robert and Anne Burnett Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Chen, a professor of physics and astronomy and electrical and computer engineering, said the principal investigators for the four projects on the latest research on quantum science and technology also are active participants of Purdue Quantum Center, which opened three years ago.

“Purdue University is seeing rapid and significant growth in research on quantum science and technology,” he said. “We expect to see more examples of interdisciplinary research generating and pushing new frontiers in quantum by bringing together people from many departments from science and engineering and beyond.

“It is good to see several of these new faculty members leading and contributing to these new awards.”

Quantum mechanics deals with observing, manipulating and controlling the motion and interaction of subatomic particles and energy at dimensions at least a million times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Quantum mechanics also leads to novel phenomena such as entanglement, in which particles such as photons can show nonclassical correlations even when separated by large distances, so that a measurement on one photon is connected with immediate changes in the state of a distant photon.  Entanglement plays a key role in many quantum information processing applications.

Weiner is part of an all-Purdue team including Minghao Qi, a professor in electrical and computer engineering, and Sabre Kais, a professor of chemistry, on a project proposal titled “High Dimensional Frequency Bin Entanglement - Photonic Integration and Algorithms.”

Weiner said the quantum research will build on the use of “qudits,” higher dimensional units of quantum information. Purdue research has found that high dimensional quantum information can be encoded and entangled in optical frequency, leading to new opportunities for quantum information processing based on qudits.

This project seeks to develop integrated photonics chips for manipulating this optical frequency quantum information in a way that scales to more complex and useful operations, including simulation of complex chemical processes.

Bhave, collaborating with Evelyn Hu of Harvard University and Mukund Vengalattore of Cornell University, is researching “Multifunctional Hybrid Quantum Systems for Spin-Based Quantum Control and Metrology.”

Through this work, the team will study enhancing the control of a quantum mechanical signal through reservoir engineering, which offers the opportunity of enhanced control by utilizing the environmental noise of the surroundings.

Bhave and his collaborators believe the better understanding may allow faster and better computation, communications and higher-precision measurements. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084,  

Sources: Sunil Bhave, 765-496-0547,

Andrew Weiner, 765-494-5574,

Yong Chen, 765-494-0947,

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