New Projects

Development of a Miniaturized Molecular Beam Epitaxy Setup for Direct Printing of Quantum Circuits



This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant will support the development of a nanoscale deposition tool - a miniaturized molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system - for direct fabrication of nanoscale structures for quantum applications. As the era of quantum engineering emerges, there is a pressing need to rapidly design, prototype, and test nanoscale structures for quantum information processing. This is critical not only to the investigation of fundamental questions in quantum information sciences, but also to the development of quantum sensors, quantum computing, and quantum networking. Current technologies separate material synthesis and nanoscale engineering. To enable more rapid development, researchers will pursue an innovative design based on nanoscale scanning probe technologies and develop a deposition tool that combines advanced synthesis and nanofabrication in one step. This instrument will have the following impacts: i) facilitate rapid development of quantum technologies; ii) develop a versatile tool to serve the broad quantum research and engineering community at the University of Chicago; iii) promote education and outreach at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school level. Outreach programs will engage the surrounding community in the Chicago South area. The investigators will allocate 40% of machine usage to the broader quantum research community at the University of Chicago, which will serve as an intellectual hub for training future quantum scientists.

The team includes experts on nanoscale materials science, microelectronics, quantum sensing, quantum computing, and quantum information. It has the goal of developing a miniaturized MBE system. Traditional MBE is a state-of-the-art deposition tool to produce wafer-scale thin films; nanofabrication such as photo- or electron-beam-lithography is used as the second step to engineer the nanoscale structures and devices. Supported by this MRI grant, the investigators shrink the lateral scale of deposition to tens of nanometers. This is achieved by customizing a scanning probe into a nano nozzle, which is integrated into a commercial scanning tunneling microscopy system. This new tool is developed in a dedicated laboratory space at the University of Chicago, with established microscopy and spectroscopy tools available to characterize the structures fabricated by the miniaturized MBE system. This instrument will enable research in a number of new scientific areas including but not limited to: 1) two-dimensional superconducting quantum devices based on nanoscale superconductor deposition; 2) delta doping of rare earth elements in oxide materials to host individual to few-body entangled quantum bits; 3) hybrid quantum sensors composed of rare-earth oxide islands and nitrogen-vacancy centers. This will be a field-defining development which aims at expediting the investigation of fundamental quantum phenomena and quantum technology developments.