Washington, DC - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $31 million for fundamental quantum research that will enable the United States to lead a new quantum technology revolution. The awards are announced as NSF joins other federal agencies and private partners at a White House summit on quantum information science today.

"The quantum revolution is about expanding the definition of what's possible for the technology of tomorrow," said NSF Director France Córdova. "NSF-supported researchers are working to deepen our understanding of quantum mechanics and apply that knowledge to create world-changing applications. These new investments will position the U.S. to be a global leader in quantum research and development and help train the next generation of quantum researchers."

The new awards add to NSF's position as a leading federal funder of quantum research, a role that includes support for advancing the technology necessary for secure quantum communications, establishing the first-ever fully connected, practical quantum computer, and bringing together academic and private sector mentors to train the next generation of quantum scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.

NSF joins the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to lead the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science. The committee will coordinate a national agenda on quantum information science and technology.

Next-generation technologies

Many of today's technologies rely on the interaction of matter and energy at extremely small scales. Quantum mechanics studies nature at such scales -- at least a million times smaller than the width of a human hair -- allowing researchers to observe, manipulate and control the behavior of particles. Next-generation technologies for communication, computing and sensing will exploit interactions among particles in quantum systems, offering the promise of dramatic increases in accuracy and efficiency.

NSF-funded researchers will explore new ways to detect photons, build bio-inspired circuits, develop light-based communication systems and more. The new awards support multi-disciplinary research through two efforts.

  • $25 million for exploratory quantum research as part of the Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)-Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (TAQS) effort.
  • $6 million for quantum research and technology development as part of the RAISE-Engineering Quantum Integrated Platforms for Quantum Communication (EQuIP) effort.

Some of the supported research teams will study new possibilities about the behavior of quantum states. Others will investigate new ways to stabilize quantum systems, making them more useful for technological applications. Both efforts support training of the future quantum workforce.

RAISE-TAQS: Innovative, interdisciplinary research

The RAISE-TAQS awards will support 25 projects for innovative approaches, experimental demonstrations and transformative advances that will help lead to systems and proof-of-concept validations in quantum sensing, communication, computing and simulations.

The NSF RAISE-TAQS effort is at the intersection of multiple disciplines and is designed to encourage scientists to pursue exploratory, cutting-edge concepts. It is meant to build a strong community of team participants who have demonstrated a readiness to examine a broad range of scientific and engineering topics related to quantum technologies.

RAISE-EQuIP: Frontiers of quantum engineering

The RAISE-EQuIP awards will support eight projects to push the frontiers of engineering in quantum information science and technology. Researchers will explore integrated approaches that go beyond the individual devices and components to enable scalable quantum communication systems.

The RAISE-EQuIP effort is intended to demonstrate proof-of-concept technologies that encompass novel devices, circuits, information processing techniques and integration platforms in a quantum communication system. The new awards address several research challenges, including revolutionary approaches for generation and processing of quantum signals.

NSF's Quantum Leap

NSF has been a driver of quantum technology research and quantum information science for decades. Of the 231 NSF-funded Nobel Laureates, 31 were honored for advancing quantum research.

The research community is currently at a point of inflection on quantum science, thanks to recent advances in technology and instrumentation capabilities across disciplines. NSF is committed to supporting research that advances this important area of science, as well as new collaborative efforts. The Quantum Leap and Growing Convergence Research are two of NSF's "10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments".