Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Faculty research team awarded Schmidt fund to identify materials for quantum systems

March 9, 2018

Nathalie de Leon, Jeffrey Thompson, Robert Cava, Stephen Lyon

From left: Nathalie de Leon, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Jeffrey Thompson, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Robert Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry; and Stephen Lyon, professor of electrical engineering. Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications

Quantum systems, which operate according to the laws of quantum mechanics that govern extremely small particles, have the potential to revolutionize a variety of areas, including information processing, nanoscale sensing and communications. But progress has been slow because only a handful of materials are known to have the right quantum properties.
 
A team of scientists and engineers will receive a grant from the Schmidt fund to support their efforts to build a discovery pipeline to identify new materials for quantum applications. The pipeline will involve creating and testing special arrangements of atoms — for example, the removal of a single atom or the substitution of one atom with another — in crystalline materials such as diamond. These “defects” in the crystal can have special properties that make them ideal for use in quantum systems.
 
The goal is for the pipeline to enable high-throughput screening of various crystals, rapid creation of defects by implanting or removing atoms, and measurement of their characteristics. The project will include the design of a new piece of equipment to evaluate the optical and electronic properties of the materials. The researchers hope to create a “periodic table” of materials that would lead to new quantum information capabilities.  
 
The team consists of Robert Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry, Nathalie de Leon, assistant professor of electrical engineering, Stephen Lyon, professor of electrical engineering, and Jeffrey Thompson, assistant professor of electrical engineering.
 
Adapted from a story by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research. To read more, see the full story on the Princeton University homepage.