Quantum Technology to Revolutionize Hazardous Materials Detection

Quantum Technology to Revolutionize Hazardous Materials Detection


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Quantum science and engineering will revolutionize national security. Research into quantum techniques to more quickly detect explosives and exotic types of quantum camouflage have received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2020 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program.

The four faculty members who have been awarded projects in the competitive funding program are members of the Purdue Quantum Science and Engineering Institute PQSEI in Purdue’s Discovery Park, a multidisciplinary hub. Purdue has a long history of supporting DoD missions. PQSEI fosters the development of practical and impactful aspects of quantum science, and focuses on discovering and studying new materials and basic physical quantum systems that will be suited for integration into tomorrow’s technology. 

The MURI program is supported by the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research. According to the US Department of Defense, the program convenes teams of multiple disciplines to facilitate the growth of new technologies to solve the DoD’s unique problems.

One of the projects, New Approaches to Quantum Control with Individual Molecule Sensitivity, will seek to control individual atoms in order to fully embrace and leverage their quantum effects. This could lead to improved detectors for biological, chemical and explosive agents, and precise quantum control that can lead to advanced materials design. This project is led by Harvard University, according to purdue.edu. 

Another project, led by Purdue, will pursue the search of unintuitive new materials and systems that exhibit exotic electronic and optoelectronic properties, specifically those stemming from unique topological states, and truly represent a new phase of matter.