Newswise — Today the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the creation of five new Quantum Information Science Research Centers led by DOE national laboratories across the country. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University will partner with other institutions on one of the national QIS centers, Q-NEXT, led by Argonne National Laboratory.

Q-NEXT will bring together nearly 100 world-class researchers from three national laboratories, 10 universities and 10 leading U.S. technology companies with the single goal of developing the science and technology to control and distribute quantum information. These activities, along with a focus on rapid commercialization of new technologies, will support the emerging “quantum economy” and ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront in this rapidly advancing field.

“The world is on the cusp of a technological revolution. Through the collaborative efforts of the national laboratories, universities and companies actively involved in Q-NEXT, we will develop instrumentation to explore and control the quantum properties of matter and translate these discoveries into technologies that benefit society,” said David Awschalom, Q-NEXT director, senior scientist at Argonne, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. ​“This partnership is essential to create a domestic supply chain of new quantum materials and devices for a robust quantum economy.”

Q-NEXT will also create two national foundries for quantum materials, one at SLAC and one at Argonne. Together, these foundries will act as a single ​“quantum factory,” producing a robust supply chain of standardized materials and devices that will support both known and yet-to-be-discovered quantum-enabled applications. It will also create a first-ever National Quantum Devices Database for the standardization of next-generation quantum devices.

“The fundamental discoveries and technological advances enabled by Q-NEXT will expedite the coming quantum technology revolution and build the quantum workforce of the future. This is a very exciting time,” said JoAnne Hewett, Q-NEXT deputy director and associate laboratory director for fundamental physics and chief research officer at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

SLAC and Stanford are key contributors to Q-NEXT and will bring their outstanding combined scientific and engineering depth and leading industrial engagement to this important national initiative.

Researchers at SLAC and Stanford will lend their expertise and leadership in numerous areas, including quantum sensors and networks, materials characterization and simulations.

Working in close collaboration with industry and other partners involved in the center, they will establish a quantum foundry for device fabrication and other core capabilities that will develop the essential building blocks of a quantum information science infrastructure. SLAC will stand up the Detector Microfabrication Facility for Q-NEXT's high-precision superconducting devices that will be used for quantum information storage, quantum sensing, quantum communication and other advanced applications.

In parallel, SLAC will use its powerful DOE user facilities – the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) and its instrument for ultrafast electron diffraction (MeV-UED), which is part of LCLS – to study the properties of quantum materials, which could drive the development of even better quantum devices.

Q-NEXT will be funded by the Department of Energy at $115 million over five years, with $15 million in fiscal year 2020 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.  Additional funding from partner organizations totals $93 million.

Q-NEXT will focus on three core quantum technologies: 

-Communication for the transmission of quantum information across long distances including quantum repeaters, enabling the establishment of ​“unhackable” networks for information transfer

-Sensors that achieve unprecedented sensitivities with transformational applications in physics, materials and life sciences

-Processing and utilizing ​“test beds” both for quantum simulators and future full-stack universal quantum computers with applications in quantum simulations, cryptanalysis and logistics optimization

Q-NEXT will also train the next-generation quantum workforce through innovative training programs with industry, academia and government to ensure continued U.S. scientific and economic leadership in this rapidly advancing field.

Argonne and SLAC are joined in the collaboration by 21 partners that are embedded in all aspects of Q-NEXT: participation in each of the scientific thrusts, governance and development of the center strategy and training of the next generation of the quantum workforce. The collaboration among laboratories, companies and universities is crucial to speed discovery, develop quantum applications and prepare a quantum-ready workforce. Q-NEXT’s partners are:

-Applied Materials

-Argonne National Laboratory


-California Institute of Technology


-Cornell University

-General Atomics

-HRL Laboratories



-Keysight Technologies


-Northwestern University

-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

-The Pennsylvania State University

-Quantum Opus

-SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

-Stanford University

-University of California, Santa Barbara

-University of Chicago

-University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

-University of Minnesota

-University of Wisconsin-Madison

This story is based on a news feature by Argonne National Laboratory. Additional information can be found in announcements by the DOE and the White House. For more information about Q-NEXT, please visit https://​www​.​q​-next​.org.

SLAC is a vibrant multiprogram laboratory that explores how the universe works at the biggest, smallest and fastest scales and invents powerful tools used by scientists around the globe. With research spanning particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, materials, chemistry, bio- and energy sciences and scientific computing, we help solve real-world problems and advance the interests of the nation.

SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.