NRL Quantum Research Center Celebrates First Year of Research, Collaboration

Jonathan Kwolek, a U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research physicist, shows an atom interferometer to Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby Sept. 14, 2020, at Naval Research Labratory (NRL) facilities in Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Kwolek, a U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research physicist, shows an atom interferometer to Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby Sept. 14, 2020, at Naval Research Labratory (NRL) facilities in Washington, D.C. Kwolek uses the instrument to measure motion for navigational purposes. NRL is designated as the Navy’s Quantum Information Research Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Jonathan Steffen)

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory celebrated its first anniversary earlier this year as the Navy’s designated Quantum Information Research Center.

Congress mandated in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act each of the armed forces in the Department of Defense designate a lead laboratory in quantum research. The Navy chose NRL in March 2020 because of its long standing track record of excellence in quantum science and technologies. NRL has been producing outstanding research results for the Navy and the Nation in areas ranging from basic science in understanding quantum entanglement of qubits to creating new algorithms for quantum computers.

NRL Director of Research Bruce Danly, Ph.D., said the goal of the lab’s quantum science and technology program is to perform research at the forefront of the field to gain technological advantages for the Navy and Marine Corps.

“This past year, NRL has lived up to our reputation for being a world class research institution,” Danly said. “We continue to establish the scientific basis for quantum information science and technologies for sensors applications, precision time and quantum computing applications of importance to the Navy. One major milestone was the establishment of an Educational Partnership Agreement between NRL and the University of Maryland’s Quantum Technology Center to identify and pursue opportunities related to quantum technologies whose one year anniversary is Sept. 1. The partners plan to seek avenues to collaborate in developing quantum technologies and in understanding the science that makes them possible.

“Working with academia and industry is a cornerstone and part of the bedrock of the culture of innovation at NRL,” Danly said. “Looking for opportunities to partner and work with others to develop new capabilities and new technologies advances the field of quantum with applications and uses for the Navy now and in the future in this emerging critical area.”

Quantum information science has never been more important than it is now. Since the designation, more than 50 research publications have been produced at NRL in the field and with several patent disclosures in process.

NRL researchers are at the forefront of quantum information technology advancements developing innovative protocols for the preparation, readout, characterization and utilization of entangled qubit states that have important applications for the Navy.

“These advances will address crucial needs on the battlefield, including better and more secure communications and improved navigation. Advances in quantum sensors and precision clocks will allow the Navy to better operate in GPS denied and jamming environments” said Gerald M. Borsuk, Ph.D., Associate Director of Research for the Systems Directorate at NRL. “Quantum computers have the potential to address important needs not feasible with traditional high performance digital supercomputers including decision making in complex battlefield environments and the design of novel materials. All of these new capabilities will benefit our Sailors, Marines and warfighters giving them the technological edge in fulfilling the Navy’s mission in the global and cyber warfare environments.”

As NRL continues building bridges with industry and maintaining close collaborations with academia on quantum technologies, and by building on its more than 25 years of quantum research this first year as Navy’s designated Quantum Information Research Center bodes well for future research and for bringing quantum technologies to reality.

“Taking a risk and having it pay off with qualitatively new results is something NRL scientists look forward to doing,” said Borsuk. “This past year, NRL scientists worked on a wide range of quantum topics, often undertaking significant scientific challenges at the research forefront. In the coming years, we will continue to pursue new methods for performing quantum information processing and for quantum sensing that we can demonstrate here at NRL and then transition into practical technologies of importance for the Navy.”

Check out All Hands Magazines “Ears Adrift” podcast where they highlight the work NRL scientists are doing in the field of quantum research with Tom Reinecke, Ph.D., Adam Black, Ph.D., Sam Carter, Ph.D., and Dan Gunlycke, Ph. D.

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 2,500 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.
For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or

Source:  U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications.  Paul Cage,  NRL Quantum Research Center Celebrates First Year of Research, Collaboration…

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