Andrew Cleland

John A. MacLean Sr. Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise; Director, Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility

Cleland Group


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  • Address

    Eckhardt Research Center
    Room 235
    5640 South Ellis Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60637

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  • Assistant
    Mary Pat McCullough


Professor Cleland specializes in quantum information, with research efforts in quantum computing, quantum communication and hybrid quantum systems. His research focuses on exploiting properties of quantum mechanical systems that cannot be duplicated in classical (non-quantum) systems, including the use of quantum entanglement and the superposition of quantum states.

Professor Cleland has been developing quantum information processors based on superconducting quantum circuits, with the ultimate goal of assembling the key elements for quantum computation. A quantum computer based on these circuits will ultimately be able to out-perform the most advanced classical computers by many orders of magnitude, through the controlled generation and use of entanglement and superposition in a large quantum system.

His quantum communication efforts are aimed at using quantum mechanical principles to build completely secure communication systems, where the communication relies on the distant entanglement of photons, the fundamental particles of light. This type of secure communication would be unbreakable, even using a quantum computer.

Professor Cleland’s third area of research focuses on the development of hybrid quantum systems, in particular combinations of superconducting quantum circuits with mechanical devices.  Professor Cleland led the team that built the first quantum machine — a mechanical object whose behavior can only be described using the principles of quantum mechanics. This achievement was awarded the  “Breakthrough of the Year 2010” from Science magazine. This same work was named a top-ten discovery of 2010 by Physics World, a publication of the United Kingdom's Institute of Physics. Physics World also selected a separate achievement from Professor Cleland's work as a top-ten discovery of 2011.


Cleland is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was selected as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for 2017-18, and was an APS Kavli Lecturer in 2017. He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics in 1983, and his PhD in physics in 1991, both from the University of California, Berkeley. He then pursued research in quantum systems at the Centre d’Etudes-Orme des Merisiers in Saclay, France, and later at the California Institute of Technology, before joining the faculty of the physics department at the University of California - Santa Barbara in 1997. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 2014.

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