Berkeley Physics Opens New Interdisciplinary Research Center

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quantum mechanics was conceived to describe the behavior of matter and energy at the size scale of atoms and subatomic particles. Exploration of the quantum world has produced many technologies that form the foundation of modern life—transistors, lasers, computers, light emitting diodes, superconductors, photovoltaics, and magnetic resonance imaging, to name a few.

Revolutionary as these developments have been, our understanding of the seemingly implausible features of quantum mechanics remains far from complete. "We are still working to understand the implications of living in a world governed by the counterintuitive predictions of quantum science," says Berkeley Physics Professor Irfan Siddiqi.

The Berkeley Physics Center for Quantum Coherent Science (CQCS) seeks to enhance that understanding by providing an expansive new forum for investigating the complexities of quantum science and its practical applications. The potential for new scientific discoveries and technological advances is immense. They range from quantum computers and simulators capable of solving classically intractable problems—including the description and synthesis of complex materials—to secure communications hardware and new types of coherent sensors with unparalleled resolution.



"Such advancements would resolve outstanding questions related to the control and measurement of quantum systems while also giving rise to the next generation of thought experiments," says Siddiqi, who serves as Founding Director of CQCS. "This new center aims to create novel quantum machines for investigating and manipulating fundamental properties of quantum coherence. CQCS pulls together under one roof scientists from many fields, all of whom speak the language of quantum mechanics—researchers from atomic and optical physics, condensed matter physics, quantum information science, high-energy physics, string theory, and chemistry."

"We also welcome participation from researchers in biology, neuroscience, and other scientific disciplines that attempt to describe complex systems," Siddiqi adds. "The biological world is robust in the presence of disorder. For example, if tissues are damaged, cellular activity makes repairs. We seek to bring the same robustness, the same complexity of architecture, into our engineered quantum systems."

Managed by an Executive Board made up of award-winning Berkeley Physics faculty, membership in CQCS is open to all faculty, students, and interested scientists across campus and around the world. "CQCS is owned and managed by Berkeley Physics, but it's a worldwide center in terms of operation," Siddiqi notes.

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