Five National Quantum Information Science Research Centers are leveraging the behavior of nature at the smallest scales to develop technologies for science’s most complex problems. Funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the NQISRCs have been supporting DOE’s mission since 2020 to advance the energy, economic and national security of the United States. By building a national quantum ecosystem and workforce comprising researchers at roughly 70 institutions across the U.S., the centers create a rich environment for quantum innovation and co-design.
The NQISRCs integrate state-of-the-art DOE facilities, preeminent talent at national laboratories and U.S. universities, and the enterprising ingenuity of U.S. technology companies.
As a result, the centers are pushing the frontier of what’s possible in quantum computers, sensors, devices and materials.
Each national center is led by a DOE national laboratory:
- Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage, or C2QA, led by Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Q-NEXT, led by Argonne National Laboratory
- Quantum Science Center, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Quantum Systems Accelerator, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center, led by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Leading with science
“Each center is a formidable force for quantum information science on its own, pushing the frontiers of computing, physics, chemistry and materials science to bring transformational new technologies to the nation,” said Q-NEXT Director David Awschalom. “But together, they’re a national powerhouse, elevating quantum science and engineering to special prominence in the U.S. and positioning the country to be a global leader in the field.”
A rapidly emerging field of research, quantum information science examines nature’s quantum properties to build new, powerful ways to process information in areas as varied as medicine, energy and finance. By manipulating matter's most fundamental features, researchers could invent new sensors of unprecedented precision, powerful computers and secure communication networks.
To that end, the centers are working to prototype and evaluate the performance and impact of quantum computers and sensors built using various technological platforms and architectures.
“There are many choices and opportunities to be made in the development of quantum computing, and understanding how current devices fail reveals to us the path forward,” C2QA Director Andrew Houck said. “The NQISRCs can tackle this surprisingly hard task because, despite great strides in the field, current quantum computers are still too noisy and prone to error for useful computations.”
Understanding the quantum behavior of materials is crucial for overcoming these noise limitations and for the realization of devices that will offer a quantum advantage. The national labs are uniquely positioned to offer advanced facilities and knowledge that guide the understanding and overcoming of these limitations.
“DOE has invested for years in cutting-edge technologies, tools and facilities at national labs, which offer unique opportunities to enable a leap in performance of quantum devices,” said SQMS Director Anna Grassellino. “We are excited to offer world-leading expertise to make transformational advances in QIS, especially because QIS can help advance our mission of understanding the world at its most fundamental level.”