The Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) is an intellectual hub and partnership for advancing academic and industrial efforts in the science and engineering of quantum information. Members of CQE are focused on developing new ways of understanding and exploiting the laws of quantum mechanics, the fundamental yet counterintuitive theory that governs nature at its smallest scales. The overarching goal is to apply research innovations to develop radically new types of devices, materials, and computing techniques.

Based at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering, CQE catalyzes research activity across disciplines and member institutions. It is anchored by the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The CQE brings together the four institutions’ intellectual talents, research capabilities and engineering capacities to create a powerful collaborative effort to advance quantum science. Together, the University and national laboratories have more than 70 researchers in various areas of quantum information technology—a set up that makes Chicago a unique destination for researchers and engineers to explore quantum information science in numerous ways.

The mission of the CQE is to accelerate discovery and innovation in the rapidly developing areas of quantum technology, and to attract talent, funding, and industry to the Chicago area to become the source for tomorrow’s leading quantum engineers.


The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is a leading academic and research institution that has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. UChicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) and its affiliates in the Physical Sciences Division departments of physics, chemistry, computer science, and astronomy and astrophysics, are home to world-leading research in quantum information science and engineering. IME expertise includes quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing, as well as creating quantum materials using semiconductors, superconductors, and trapped atoms. These materials serve as the basis for building nanometer-scale electronic, optical, and mechanical devices that operate at the quantum limit. For example, understanding and manipulating the spin of electrons in semiconductors or magnetic flux in superconductors can be used for advancing computing, medical imaging, encryption and other technologies.

The leading faculty at the Institute for Molecular Engineering have established it as an international center for quantum information science. The IME is also one of the nation’s leading institutions for educating and training tomorrow’s quantum engineers, with quantum research-focused undergraduate courses and a training program for graduate students that connects them with industry and the national laboratories.

Members of the CQE also work closely with the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to develop industry partnerships and spin-off companies based on their research.


Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne’s research in quantum information science encompasses discovery of new materials and devices for solid-state qubits (the basic unit of quantum information rendered as an electronic or optical device), and photonic and spin-based approaches for reliably manipulating and transmitting quantum information. Additional priorities include:

  • Quantum sensing, particularly as applied to problems in high-energy and nuclear physics, and chemistry
  • Algorithms and software research
  • Hybrid quantum-classical computing systems
  • Complex simulations of chemical processes

The quantum information sciences program leverages Argonne’s expansive experimental and computational infrastructure for research in the physical sciences—including large open-use scientific facilities run by the Department of Energy Office of Science, such as the Advanced Photon Source, the Center for Nanoscale Materials, and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.


Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Fermilab seeks to leverage the power of quantum science to address problems in data analysis and theoretical physics. High-energy physicists are also extending their expertise in sensor and accelerator technology for quantum software and computing. The laboratory’s initiatives in quantum information science include:

  • Simulation of quantum field theories
  • Algorithms for traditional high-energy physics computational problems
  • Teleportation experiments and circuit models of quantum gravity systems
  • Application of qubit technologies to quantum sensors in high-energy physics experiments on the sensitivity frontier
  • Superconducting quantum systems

As a pioneer both in particle physics and in high-performance and supercomputing, Fermilab capitalizes on its capabilities at the intersection of these areas to solve the intractable problems of high-energy physics. It partners with other institutions in carrying out its quantum initiatives, which are supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science.

Fermilab is America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. Since 1967, Fermilab has worked to answer fundamental questions about the universe and enhance our understanding of everything we see around us. The lab’s vision is to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space and time for the benefit of all.

Learn more information about Fermilab’s quantum science program.


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center (IQUIST) brings together physicists, electrical engineers, computer scientists, entrepreneurs, and other experts to accelerate ongoing and new efforts in quantum information science (QIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IQUIST leverages and consolidates the university’s strengths in this critical research area, priming the Urbana campus to take a leadership role in the coming quantum information revolution—delivering world-changing technologies, a cutting-edge workforce, and entirely new industries to the state and the world. IQUIST collaborators are pursuing several promising lines of fundamental research and engineering to support development of new quantum materials and devices, writing post-quantum computing algorithms, and testing new protocols for quantum cryptography and quantum communications.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a world leader in the area of quantum devices, with three cutting edge experimental efforts focused on different quantum device implementations: superconducting qubits, semiconductor qubits and neutral atom qubits. The UW–Madison’s Physics Department includes a theory group working on modeling of devices and materials for quantum information processing, and growing efforts in quantum sensing, growth and characterization of quantum materials, quantum simulation of high energy physics, and hybrid quantum implementations that combine the best features of disparate quantum technologies.


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