3 December 2020

Quantum electronics accelerator awarded to Anasua Chatterjee and Ferdinand Kuemmeth


Research facilities at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, will significantly expand their capabilities for developing new quantum materials and quantum-electronic devices. The Carlsberg Foundation has awarded Assistant Professor Anasua Chatterjee and Associate Professor Ferdinand Kuemmeth an infrastructure grant; adding to the NBI new cryogenic tools to screen quantum devices at low temperature.

Ferdinand Kuemmeth og Anasua Chatterjee
Cryogenic characterization tools have been outpaced by today’s manufacturing capabilities, making it impossible to test new devices at the same rate as sample fabrication. Anasua Chatterjee and Ferdinand Kuemmeth hope to remove this bottleneck by custom designed, semi-automatic low-temperature screening tools. Photo: QDEV

They will now have the ability to cycle through and test devices much faster. The researchers seek to explore hybrid quantum materials, for example combining semiconductors and superconductors, for which fast, low temperature characterization is necessary for quick and easy access to statistically significant results.

Tomorrow’s quantum materials

Anasua Chatterjee predicts that when it comes to hardware for quantum simulators and quantum computers, most quantum technologies will fail or succeed based on an intricate interplay between materials growth, nanofabrication, and quantum device engineering. “We have excellent people within each field, but it is exactly at their intersections that we should support and utilize researchers in a more efficient way.” Even for fundamental insights into materials physics, the combination of different materials offer surprises for physicists when working with quantum properties. Ferdinand Kuemmeth explains the dilemma: “Hybrid devices exhibit their true behavior only after they are built and cooled to sub-kelvin temperatures (temperatures below 1 degree above absolute zero). Having access to rapid cryogenic characterization tools would tremendously accelerate the creation, iteration, and optimization of functional quantum devices.”

High-Throughput Screening of Hybrid Quantum Devices

The project will implement a shared cryogenic screening setup at the Niels Bohr Institute that is capable of characterizing a wide variety of quantum devices down to temperatures below which they exhibit unusual properties dominated by quantum mechanics; for example, the critical temperature for superconductors . The infrastructure acquired will include a state-of-the-art cooler (0.1-300 kelvin) and support multi-channel low- and high-frequency electrical measurements in magnetic fields up to 2 tesla, i.e. 40000 times stronger than the earth magnetic field. A semi-automatic sample loader as well as customized sample holders will allow not only high-throughput screening of new devices, but also the direct transfer of successful devices to existing dilution refrigerators at QDev, which can perform more detailed studies of their fundamental properties at even lower temperatures around 20 millikelvin at the Center for Quantum Devices.