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University of Iowa News Release


May 20, 2011

UI researcher receives U.S. Air Force grant to develop quantum memory technology

A University of Iowa researcher has received a five-year, $875,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research as part of a multi-university research initiative that may lead to faster, more secure and more energy-efficient computers.

Michael Flatté, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and director of the UI Optical Science and Technology Center, will lead the UI effort on the project titled "Quantum Memories in Photon-Atomic Solid State Systems."

The UI research goals are to integrate atoms, photons and electron spins in diamond for new chip-scale quantum technologies, and will include training quantum scientists and engineers.

Quantum technology is an interdisciplinary field using physics, materials science, and engineering to manipulate individual basic units of energy and matter called quanta. Applications can be found in the fields of information technology -- such as cryptography, high-speed computer searches, and extremely low-power computing -- and metrology, such as precise measurement and timing.

Flatté, who also serves as professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said that the project will build upon and advance established UI research strengths.

"The fundamental science and device design essential for quantum technology is an internationally-recognized strength of the University of Iowa and especially the Optical Science and Technology Center," he said. "Information processing using electron spin devices has been predicted by researchers at UI to require less power than current silicon microprocessor technology. Quantum technologies permit a new paradigm of computing that can solve problems that cannot be solved by current computers."

The overall research program is led by the University of California at Santa Barbara and, in addition to the UI, also includes the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Iowa State University.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,