Research Areas

Chicago Quantum Exchange researchers are exploring quantum information to develop new applications with the potential to dramatically improve technology for communication, computing, and sensing. They pursue the invention of new technologies in which all components of information processing—sensing, computation, storage, and communication—are kept in the quantum world.


Research Expertise

Quantum Computing

Quantum computers could solve some types of problems much faster than current computers—and answer some that today’s computers simply cannot. Because they naturally process multiple possibilities in parallel, they could accelerate searches for new pharmaceuticals, improve batteries and solar cells, and find more environmentally friendly ways to make chemicals.

Quantum Sensing

The keen sensitivity of quantum systems to the tiniest changes in their environment, including temperature, magnetism, and noise, make them perfect sensors. Quantum sensors might be able to find hidden underground oil pockets, improve earthquake monitoring, unravel the structure of single molecules or peek at the dynamics of cellular proteins.

Quantum Communication

Quantum communication systems could enable new kinds of unbreakable encryption and secure communication over vast distances. Such systems would exploit the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, through which two particles can be so inextricably connected that any action on one particle seemingly instantly influences the second, no matter how far apart they are.

Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed Matter Physics—the physics of liquids and solids—explores the exotic behaviors that emerge when many quantum-mechanical particles interact with one another. Exciting theoretical questions range from the origins of high-temperature superconductivity to properties of topological quantum materials and beyond. While many experimental efforts aim to validate these theoretical models, condensed matter techniques have applications across quantum science, from device development and information processing to quantum simulation.

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics has its origins in spectroscopy, a technique for analyzing light at specific wavelengths, and has produced an extremely exciting set of tools for creating and probing many of today’s most exciting quantum systems.

Physical Chemistry

Physical chemistry is the study of how matter behaves across a wide range of length scales spanning atomic and molecular dimensions and extending to macroscopic systems. It encompasses quantum phenomena at essentially all levels, such as the electronic structure of matter and its interaction with light, energy and charge flow, the statistical and thermodynamic behavior (how heat interacts with other forms of energy) of complex ensembles, as well as the quantum chemical dynamics of time-evolving systems.

Quantum Information

Quantum Information Science explores how computation, along with the storage and transmission of information, change once quantum effects come into play. This includes theoretical topics such as computation models and error correction, as well as experimental topics such as practical implementations of quantum computers in semiconducting, superconducting, and the manipulation of atoms under ultracold conditions.

Quantum Optics

Quantum Optics is a field of research that harnesses interacting photons and atoms to explore the fundamental limits of the physical world. The focus is on observing aspects of the world that are uniquely quantum mechanical, including squeezing, entanglement, and the transition from quantum phenomena to the physics of the world as it operates at larger scales.


Nanomechanics is a branch of nanoscience studying fundamental mechanical (elastic, thermal and kinetic) properties of physical systems at the nanometer scale. Nanomechanics has emerged on the crossroads of classical mechanics, solid-state physics, statistical mechanics, materials science, and quantum chemistry.

Topological Physics

Topological physics is a rather abstract and mathematically theoretical subject, but it can lead to particular phenomena that scientists can measure in the laboratory. One such phenomenon is the fractional quantum Hall effect, which governs the behavior of electrons under the influence of powerful magnetic fields.

Device Physics

The study and development of the physics of devices based on controlling electrons and photons (light particles for use in detectors, information processing, and studying the fundamental properties of matter. Individual electronic and photonic components can be integrated into compact devices that take advantage of their complementary properties.

High-Energy and Particle Physics

In high-energy and particle physics, researchers study nature at its most fundamental level, investigating particles that make up both ordinary and exotic forms of matter as well as cosmological phenomena such as dark matter. Researchers wield the principles of quantum physics and the tools of HEP to build quantum computers and other technologies. And they use the power of quantum computing to solve the intractable problems of particle physics.