Skip to main content

About Us

Person working in lab

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Center for Molecular Quantum Transduction (CMQT) is to develop the fundamental scientific understanding needed to carry out quantum-to-quantum transduction through a bottom up synthetic approach that imparts atomistic precision to quantum systems. Quantum-to-quantum transduction is the coherent exchange of information between quantum systems, which is an essential element of quantum information science.

To achieve its mission, CMQT researchers study the underlying interactions among quantum spins, excitons, and vibrational excitations of molecules and molecular materials that are relevant to molecular quantum-to-quantum transduction. CMQT comprises an interdisciplinary team with the individual expertise and collective breadth to create knowledge in this emerging area. Understanding and achieving quantum-to-quantum transduction, an essential element of quantum information science, is a key priority for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Why use molecules and why now?

To date, research in spin-based Quantum Information Science (QIS) has demonstrated success by harnessing and exploiting defects in solids. Using molecule-based systems offers the advantages of structural reproducibility, atomic scale spatial control, structural modularity, and access to uniquely molecular degrees of freedom (DOFs), i.e. the various pairwise interactions between photons, excitons, magnons, phonons, spins, and charges. The number of quantum DOFs available in molecular systems make them attractive targets for quantum transduction, as quantum information can be transferred coherently between DOFs.

Molecular architectures provide unmatched flexibility for tailoring the properties that are critical to quantum transduction, and molecular synthesis affords the opportunity to build novel molecular materials from the bottom-up, both of which are at the heart of CMQT's research. Thus, molecular systems offer an exceptional opportunity to explore the interface between quantum systems essential for sensing, communication, and computation.

CMQT's Team Science Approach

Achieving molecular quantum-to-quantum transduction is necessarily an interdisciplinary effort, requiring necessary expertise in the design and synthesis of molecular and solid-state materials, the capacity to measure coherent quantum states at the single quantum level, and the ability to seamlessly incorporate theory and modeling of materials and measurement schemes with the experimental constraints of real systems.

CMQT's team of chemists, physicists, and materials scientists has been assembled with exactly this challenge in mind. Each team member brings a suite of experimental and theoretical tools to bear that have been extensively validated by CMQT's preliminary research detailed within each Research Thrust description, and a history of successful collaborations with one another.

The CMQT team joins established strengths at Northwestern University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Cornell University, University of Iowa, Ohio State University, Princeton University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison in molecular and nanostructured assemblies, materials, quantum physics and chemistry focused on QIS. Together, these institutions offer a critical mass of leading researchers, and unique capabilities/facilities in synthesis, fabrication, characterization, theory, and computation to advance our understanding of molecular quantum-to-quantum transduction.

A strong multi-disciplinary team approach to solving scientific problems has traditionally been part of NU scientific culture. As lead institution, NU has long experience in managing highly successful Energy Frontier Research Centers, and currently has >50 university-wide centers and institutes, including leading centers in energy, materials science, and nanotechnology. The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (Trienens Institute, whose mission is to promote energy and sustainability research, education, outreach, and communication, will provide additional institutional resources, including on-campus collaborative research space (Trienens Instute FlexLab), to achieve CMQT goals.

CMQT is uniquely positioned to exploit recent breakthroughs from its team including landmark coherence times and stabilities of molecular qubits and quantum materials, the ability to create hybrid qubits, and resonant photonic architectures.

As CMQT moves forward, its approach includes both ensemble-level studies to rapidly understand interactions, and development of single-molecule methods to interface molecular QIS with other QIS platforms. CMQT will also leverage cutting-edge physical measurement techniques with high spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution to understand how to transition quantum-to-quantum transduction from the ensemble to the single molecule level.

CMQT's goals are embodied by three cross-cutting research thrusts with closely integrated approaches and team synergies that progressively exploit the flexibility and tunability of molecular architectures to address quantum-to-quantum transduction at increasing length scales. Individually, the Thrusts each pose and answer fundamental questions relevant to quantum transduction in different regimes, ranging from local to long-distance. Taken together, the Thrusts develop a transformative integrated framework for how molecules can facilitate quantum transduction at all the scales relevant for quantum information science and processing.