With this grant, Asst. Prof. Tian Zhong aims to create a new form of qubits using rare-earth elements doped in solids. Rare-earth elements refer to the lanthanide series, a family of atoms in the periodic table with atomic numbers from 58 to 71.
Zhong chose to use rare-earth atoms because they have demonstrated superb quantum coherence properties desirable for quantum technology. In addition, these materials are already ubiquitous in electronic gadgets such as TV displays, laser pointers, and mobile phones.
His proposal, titled “Engineering rare-earth hyperfine qubits for quantum information technology” was accepted for three years of funding through the Young Investigator Program (YIP) of the Army Research Office (ARO), an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. The objective of the YIP is to support exceptional young university faculty members pursuing fundamental research.