Published: Sept. 20, 2021

Shuo Sun to lead $2.5 million collaboration to improve quantum interconnection

A team led by a University of Colorado Boulder physicist has won the Quantum Interconnect Challenges for Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (QuIC-TAQS) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the organization has announced.

Shuo Sun, an assistant professor of physics and fellow at JILA, a joint institute of CU Boulder and the National Institute for Standards and Technology, will lead a $2.5 million collaboration among universities, national labs and private industry.

Shuo Sun

Shuo Sun, above, is an assistant professor of physics and fellow at JILA and the lead of this $2.5 million collaboration.

The grant aims to support interdisciplinary teams exploring innovative and unique ideas for applying and developing quantum engineering, computing and science in the area of quantum interconnection.

In this program, this cross-disciplinary team of mathematicians, information theorists, quantum physicists, photonic engineers and material scientists led by Sun looks to develop a set of new technologies for efficient generation, transformation and characterization of multi-photon entangled states, and to explore their new enabling applications in quantum networking and quantum interconnects.

The team includes three academic institutions (CU Boulder, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Virginia Tech), two national labs (NIST Boulder and Sandia), and two industry partners (Physical Science Inc and AdvR Inc).

The program will have a long-term impact on national security and prosperity by contributing to the development of quantum repeaters and the quantum internet, Sun says, adding:

“The program also includes a strong education and outreach effort that will contribute to the growing movement to introduce quantum mechanics and information to high school and early undergraduate curricula.” 

Sun's laboratory focuses on the interactions between light and matter for quantum information applications, including quantum computing and quantum networking.

Sun said the grant will help him tackle “one of the most challenging problems in quantum networking and quantum interconnects,” namely how to overcome loss by encoding information into entangled photons and how to efficiently generate and process these entangled photons.

“Since the birth of my group, we have been trying to tackle this problem by employing atom-photon interactions on a chip and have made preliminary progress,” he said. “This grant will definitely boost our progress in this direction. Plus, it offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with many other groups with complementary expertise.”

Quantum interconnection is a part of quantum communications. This grant is part of a larger NSF program called “Quantum Leap.” The "Quantum Leap" began in December 2018 with the National Quantum Initiative Act, which helped to fund research and development of quantum technology nationwide.