Edo Waks Recipient of 2024 MURI Award

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Professor Edo Waks

Professor Edo Waks has been awarded a Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Program Award.  His proposal will be sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).  This year, the DoD will distribute $221 million in awards to 30 teams from 73 academic institutions.

Waks will lead a team of researchers from multiple universities on a project titled “Piezoelectric Control of Quantum States in Solid-State Defects (PIQS)”.  The goal of their research is to interface piezoelectric materials with semiconductors for integrated quantum systems.

Quantum properties of solid-state defects can be manipulated and enhanced by electromechanically active materials that directly modify their quantum state. Control of electron and nuclear spin is vital for spin-based quantum information processing.  To create optimal applications though, thin-film electromechanical actuators must be integrated with spin-host materials with exceptional optical and spin properties.  The electromechanical actuators must be able to withstand cryogenic temperatures, where solid-state defects are most apparent.

The team plans to create next-generation, multi-functional hybrid devices composed of optically active solid-state spin qubits integrated with superior host materials that efficiently interface to cutting-edge thin-film electromechanical actuators.  These devices enable direct control of the quantum states of optically active spin defects, enabling mechanical manipulation of electronic and spin states.  Using optimal and compatible spin hosts and actuator materials will result in exceptional mechanical strain transfer to the solid-state defect.   

Ultimately, the project will lay a foundation for future development of large arrays of solid-state spin qubits with long coherence times and the ability to emit indistinguishable photons that mediate quantum entanglement.  These applications will be relevant to the development of solid-state quantum information processors and quantum networks.  

Professor Waks is the Associate Director of UMD’s Quantum Technology Center. He holds joint appointments with the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, the Joint Quantum Institute and the Department of Physics.  In 2023, he won the UMD Quantum Invention of the Year Award with Uday Saha (ECE Ph.D. ’22) for their Low Noise Quantum Frequency Conversion Scheme for Trapped Ion Quantum Network. Other awards include a DURIP Award for Research Instrumentation, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and a NSF CAREER Award.  He is a Fellow of APS and NFS and a member of Tau Beta Pi.

Published March 13, 2024