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Center for Nanoscale Materials

Theme I – Quantum materials and sensing

The goal of this theme is to combine CNM’s expertise in synthesis, fabrication, characterization and theory on nanometer length scales to discover fundamental mechanisms and materials for quantum information and sensing.

This theme focuses on leveraging the unprecedented characterization and control that have been achieved through modern nanoscience to develop deeper understandings and new experimental platforms for quantum information science (QIS).

We address materials for QIS that we categorize into two kinds.

The first deals with solid-state systems that involve the creation and manipulation of coherent quantum information (for sensing, computing or communication). Single-photon emitters and optically-active spin systems have emerged as powerful platforms for this because they can be initialized, manipulated and read out remotely with light; they can store quantum information in the long-lived spin degree-of-freedom; and they can serve as sensitive sensors at nanometer length scales.

These systems can take the physical form of defects or dopants in a host matrix or of semiconducting particles, which are nanostructured for quantum confinement; either way, these systems are intrinsically nanoscale in nature, and their development will benefit immensely from the strategic deployment of nanoscience experimental and theoretical methodologies, expertise and instrumentation. We hope—through our own science and the user science CNM enables—to further the fundamental science leading to the creation, storage, manipulation and entanglement of quanta of information using these nanoscale solid-state systems.

These studies include the fundamentals of spin, single-photon, phonon and magnon dynamics; sub-wavelength light localization; topological materials; and the creation and manipulation of dopants and defects in materials for quantum coherence and entanglement. These phenomena comprise the underlying science for any practical quantum system (computing, sensing or communication) and the building blocks for qubit transduction schemes, quantum memories, and information transport.

The second kind deals with sensing at the single-atom or single-molecule level using quantum mechanics to maximize the information that we can obtain, though not necessarily via quantum systems that are coherent or entangled. Atomic resolution sensing is also gaining vast interest in the nanoscale research community. CNM’s involvement in this area goes back more than five years, where we combine the strengths of the scanning tunneling microscope with synchrotron X-ray excitation of materials in a single tool and technique (SX-STM). It builds on our traditional strength in near field microscopy and X-ray science. 

Schematic presentation of the building blocks for qubit transduction schemes, quantum memories and information transport.