Monday, March 11, 2024

The National Science Foundation has awarded Assistant Professor Ravi Uppu a $550,000 CAREER grant a prestigious five-year award given to early-career faculty for research and education.  Uppu and his research team will explore the electronic and photonic properties of light-matter interactions at the single emitter level, enabling them to generate multiphoton entangled states of light necessary for practical quantum interconnects.

 The project "Integrated sources of multiphoton entanglement for enabling quantum interconnects is jointly funded by Electronic, Photonic, and Magnetic Devices (EPMD) Program of the NSF's Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

In the quest to bring quantum technologies to the forefront, the challenge of scaling up quantum systems for practical applications looms large. Photons, serving as quantum interconnects, offer a solution by weaving together smaller quantum systems to enhance the overall quantum computational power, akin to classical cluster computers. However, the realization of practical photonic quantum interconnects hinges on the availability of entangled multiphoton sources with the required brightness, quality, and number of entangled particles. 

This project's core objective is to transform quantum light sources, specifically aiming to create efficient and high-quality multiphoton entangled states. The research leverages the advances made by the lead researchers in chip-scale single-photon sources that employ semiconductor quantum dots embedded in nanofabricated photonic structures to achieve robustness and scalability. To translate this performance of single-photon sources to multiphoton entanglement, innovations in material and device-level modeling will be coupled with precise spectroscopy and qubit control to characterize and suppress noise in qubits. This comprehensive approach seeks to establish the practicality and resilience of photonic quantum interconnects in the near term. 

Complementing these scientific pursuits, the project places a strong emphasis on education, seeking to foster a robust science identity and a sense of belonging within the scientific community among students. Through an interdisciplinary forum and a quantum outreach program, the project aims to enhance the recruitment and retention of underrepresented communities in STEM by providing unique opportunities for student interaction and collaboration in the captivating field of quantum technologies.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.