memQ is working on the development of semiconductor materials for quantum memory as part of the latest cohort of Duality

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memQ co-founders Manish Kumar Singh, PhD ’22, CEO, and Sean Sullivan, CTO

Based on state-of-the-art laboratory research, memQ is developing semiconductor materials with novel qubit storage capabilities that will play a critical role in the development of quantum networks.

The team has deep ties to Chicago’s quantum scene: Led by recent Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) graduate Manish Kumar Singh, PhD ’22, memQ draws on the collective expertise of the researcher from Argonne National Laboratory Sean Sullivan and PME Professor Supratik Guha.

Advised by Guha, who is also a senior physical science and engineering advisor to Argonne, Singh was among the first students in the country to receive a doctorate in quantum engineering, which emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to solving of quantum problems which brings together skills in chemical and materials engineering, applied physics and nanofabrication. Today, the team leverages this collaborative mindset to drive business innovation.

Using Singh’s doctoral research as a starting point, memQ produces semiconductor materials. The theory behind quantum memory has been studied by the physics community for years, but scalable, on-chip implementation of the technology has yet to be realized.

“Proof of concept has been demonstrated, how we would go about storing it – the protocols are there. But the actual technology that could be used to store hundreds or thousands of qubits does not currently exist. That is, there is no equivalent of quantum memory today,” Singh explained. “Given that the physics was understood, the challenge of materials science is what was left.”

Following several laboratory breakthroughs on the compatibility of titanium dioxide with qubit dynamics, memQ is working to address this challenge with the goal of developing commercially viable quantum memory units.

What makes memQ’s approach particularly appealing is its compatibility with current semiconductor technology. “In order to get to a thousand qubits on a single chip,” Singh explained, “you have to be able to leverage pre-existing technology. Our platform allows us to use the same technology that has been perfected over the past 40 , last 50 years in the semiconductor industry, now for the development of devices directly useful in the quantum ecosystem.By tapping into previous scientific knowledge, memQ has been able to develop viable technologies more efficiently with existing infrastructures.

The team is working against the backdrop of recent advances in quantum communication in the Chicago area, including the expansion of the now 124-mile quantum test loop in June. Quantum memories are needed to establish connections between quantum computing and sensor nodes over arbitrary distances, so memQ’s technology can play a vital role in the long-term realization of quantum networks on this bench. test.

“We come out of the Chicago ecosystem and share the vision that Chicago has the potential to become a major quantum hub due to the resources and talent available in the region,” Singh said. This perspective is at the heart of memQ’s partnership with Duality. “The duality became obvious to us because she had the support, she had the resources and she shares the same vision as memQ.”

A member of the second cohort of Duality, the team members have already benefited from connections with entrepreneurs and professionals during the transition of their project from an academic research environment to a commercial industry. Led by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Chicago Quantum Exchange, along with other founding partners the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory and P33, Duality accepted five startups in June from around the world in the second cohort of the one-year accelerator.

“We currently hope to accelerate the market discovery process and learn from the mentor and business opportunities that Duality provides,” Singh said. “We are now equipped with capabilities available in the broader ecosystem of Argonne, UIUC and UChicago.”

memQ also participated in the Compass Deep Tech Accelerator at the Polsky Center and was shortlisted earlier this year to receive the George Shultz Innovation Fund award.

Armed with these support channels, Singh hopes to discover new markets for memQ’s technology in the coming months. “While we are clear on the intermediate milestones, there is a lot of development that needs to happen. We’re trying to better understand the ecosystem, where can we bring value with this technology as we move towards this end product that we have in mind. »

Article by Madeleine Roberts, scientific writing intern at the Polsky Center. Madeleine is a third year at the College studying physics and creative writing and has conducted quantum research internationally.

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