Rabitz Group Receives DOE Quantum Info Systems Funding Award

By Wendy Plump
Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021

Herschel Rabitz, the Charles Phelps Smyth ’16 *17 Professor of Chemistry, and Professional Specialist Alexei Goun, a research staff member in the Rabitz Group, as co-PIs have been named to an $11M Department of Energy funding package for projects in Quantum Information Science (QIS), announced this week.

Spread over 10 projects throughout the country, the awards will promote and explore opportunities for quantum computing to advance fusion and plasma science, investigate using quantum sensors to enhance the range and accuracy of fusion plasma measurements, and apply innovative quantum techniques to examine new materials in extreme conditions.

“We are excited to continue our efforts to build a community of QIS researchers for our program,” said James Van Dam, the DOE’s associate director of science for Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). “These awards enrich our QIS portfolio and address many of the priority research opportunities in this area.”

Herschel Rabitz, the Charles Phelps Smyth ’16 *17 Professor of Chemistry.
Herschel Rabitz, the Charles Phelps Smyth ’16 *17 Professor of Chemistry.
Photo by C. Todd Reichart

Rabitz and Goun will receive funding for their project, Exploiting Quantum Superposition and Entanglement for Achieving High Selectivity and Sensitivity for Species Detection in Magnetic Fusion Devices.

“We are elated,” said Rabitz. “It’s a unique research venture with a potentially high payoff.” 

Magnetic fusion devices exhibit complex chemical behavior close to the surface of vacuum containment vessels, especially in the so-called “divertor” region, where the fusion components are injected and the fusion products and plasma impurities are removed. The group will use complex nonlinear laser spectroscopy techniques to study the chemical composition of this region. 

“These techniques are hampered by the absence of the sensitive detection of the resulting optical signal,” said Goun. “We suggested a novel approach based on the detection of the current, induced by the optical field in a superconducting circuit. Such an approach allows application of QIS techniques to optical detection and, in turn, to studies of complex chemistry in the fusion reactor boundary region.”

The FES projects are funded for up to three years in duration, with additional “outyear” funds contingent on congressional appropriations. 

The awards are dispersed to institutions throughout the country as selected by competitive peer review, including MIT, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, among others. 

Read the full press release here: https://www.energy.gov/science/articles/department-energy-announces-11-m....