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Joint Quantum Institute

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Joint Quantum Institute: Processing Quantum Coherence  (University of Maryland College Park)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

Humanity is on the verge of a new technological revolution as the strange and unique properties of quantum physics become relevant and exploitable in the context of information science and technology. The Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a Physics Frontier Center (PFC) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is pursuing that goal through the work of leading quantum scientists from the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). JQI utilizes major experimental and theoretical research programs to achieve the goals of controlling and exploiting quantum systems.

JQI's specific objectives are to serve as a world-class research institute, conducting fundamental investigations of coherent quantum phenomena and thereby laying the foundation for engineering and controlling complex quantum systems capable of using the coherence and entanglement of quantum mechanics; to maintain and enhance America's leading role in high technology through a powerful collaboration among NIST and the University of Maryland; and to provide a unique, interdisciplinary center for the interchange of ideas among atomic physics, condensed matter and quantum information scientists.

Education & Outreach

JQI supports Summer Girls, an intensive, hands-on program that brings 9th- and 11th-grade girls to the University of Maryland's Department of Physics for two weeks of instruction, exploration and experiment. Since its inception, approximately 1,000 rising ninth graders have attended this program. Past participants have gone on to become engineers, doctors, computer specialists and, of course, physicists. Summer Girls have come from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire and foreign countries. The program is free to selected students who share a keen desire to learn more about physics. In 2009, the program drew a total of 68 students over the course of four weeks.

JQI has also conducted outreach to students at Howard University and to area high school teachers in which JQI faculty provided laboratory tours, gave presentations about quantum information science research, and conducted a day-long workshop on optics.

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Related Institutions

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)


  • image of fermionic atoms in a semi-metal state
By loading ultra-cold fermionic atoms into higher orbitals of a double-well optical lattice, a topological semi-metal state will arise.