Pair of materials and physics professors to helm project
UCSB has received a six-year, $250 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fuel a project to study quantum materials — such as superconductors, magnets and topological insulators — that rely on quantum mechanics, a field of physics.
This project is called the UCSB NSF Quantum Foundry and includes 20 faculty members from an array of the school’s departments: materials, physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering and computer science. The homebase of this project? UCSB’s California Nanosystems Institute in Elings Hall.
At the helm of the project are UCSB professors Ania Bleszynski Jayich and Stephen Wilson, who will be co-directing.
“Under the direction of physics professor Ania Bleszynski Jayich and materials professor Stephen Wilson,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang, “the foundry will provide a collaborative environment for researchers to continue exploring quantum phenomena, designing quantum materials and building instruments and computers based on the basic principles of quantum mechanics.”
The road ahead, however, does not seem easy.
“Advances in quantum science require a highly integrated interdisciplinary approach, because there are many hard challenges that need to be solved on many fronts,” said Dr. Bleszynski Jayich. “One of the big ideas behind the Foundry is to take these early theoretical ideas that are just beginning to be experimentally viable and use quantum mechanics to produce technologies that can outperform classical technologies.”
The project may benefit the school’s undergraduate physics program and its 700 students.
“Many of these students, as well as many undergraduate engineering and chemistry students, are hungry for an education in quantum science, because it’s a fascinating subject that defies our classical intuition, and on top of that, it offers career opportunities. It can’t get much better than that,” Dr. Bleszynski Jayich said.