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Stevens Institute of Technology Researchers Awarded NSF Quantum Grant

Photonics.com
Nov 2018
HOBOKEN, N.J., Nov. 8, 2018 — In a coordinated national strategy to fund quantum-related research and education, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded two of its eight nationwide RAISE-EQuIP grants to physicists Yuping Huang and Stefan Strauf at Stevens Institute of Technology for their proposed research on secure information networks.

The RAISE-EQuIP grants are designed to propel advances in quantum communication to offer the promise of generating, processing, and detecting individual or entangled photons with unparalleled efficiency and volume. The announcement coincides with the nation’s 10-year federal plan to advance quantum science research and ensure continued leadership in the field.

Huang, an assistant professor of physics who heads Stevens’ Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, will focus on developing a scalable integrated chip that creates entangled photons that can safely transmit and carry an unprecedented amount of information across long distances even under challenging weather conditions. One cloud or disturbance in the air can absorb or scatter an entangled photon traveling in free space, disconnecting the network.

In the past, quantum communication networks used large tables full of mirrors, lasers, and other optical equipment to create entangled photons and tune their information capacity. Huang, with co-investigator Michael Vasilyev at University of Texas at Arlington, now aims to build an efficient and robust integrated quantum system on a chip.

Huang tested a prototype of this platform at Stevens, where he built the first hybrid quantum network on a college campus, giving students firsthand experience to tinker with the technology.

“We want to train the first generation of the quantum industry workforce at Stevens,” Huang said. “That’s something no one has done before.”

Strauf, professor of physics and head of the Nanophotonics Lab at Stevens, is working with Liang Feng and Ritesh Agarwal at the University of Pennsylvania to build an integrated platform on a chip that can generate, process, and detect so-called twisted single photons, on demand, to encode quantum information. These twisted photons have vortices that carry angular momentum, thereby providing additional information encoding capabilities. Additional twist patterns create higher dimensional quantum states, which increases not only information capacity, but also the level of security against quantum hacking.

The RAISE-EQuIP grants provide $750,000 to each group over the next three years. Both teams plan to integrate undergraduate and graduate students into the research and will participate in educational outreach programs to facilitate interest in quantum information science in students from preschool through twelfth grade.

GLOSSARY
quantum
Smallest amount into which the energy of a wave can be divided. The quantum is proportional to the frequency of the wave. See photon.
BusinessStevens Institute of TechnologyRAISE-EQuIPCommunicationsquantumopticsgrantsNational Science FoundationAmericas

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