U.K. delegation visits Fermilab to collaborate on quantum network research

Researchers are collaborating across the world to encode information using quantum science to perform powerful calculations and distribute information across networks.

On Nov. 15, a delegation of researchers from the United Kingdom visited the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to see firsthand the lab’s efforts to advance quantum information science.

The U.K. and the U.S. are no strangers when it comes to collaborating on quantum research. In 2021, a joint statement between the U.S. and U.K. set the stage for the two countries to team up to tackle some of the biggest challenges in quantum information science.

The delegation represented researchers from across the British government, industry and academia who conduct research in quantum science and technology. They met with Fermilab’s leadership team and discussed opportunities to collaborate on quantum networks.

A delegation of researchers from the U.K visited Fermilab in November. At the Quantum Network Lab, they learned how Fermilab can send entangled quantum information to partner labs across Illinois. From left: Gerald Buller, Heriot Watt University; Richard Penty, University of Cambridge; Cristian Peña, Fermilab; Carmen Palacios-Berraquero, NuQuantum; Caroline France, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. Photo: Dan Svoboda, Fermilab

Panagiotis Spentzouris, associate lab director for the Emerging Technologies Directorate, provided a detailed overview of the lab’s work on quantum networks.

Fermilab is the lead institution on the Illinois-Express Quantum Network. The guests had a firsthand glance of Fermilab’s Quantum Network Lab, one of two IEQNET nodes provided by Fermilab.  The network distributes entangled quantum information through fiber-optic cables between Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory, as well as between the Chicago campus of Northwestern University and the Evanston campus of NU. With this network, researchers are laying the foundation for a quantum internet. In particular, they can test different quantum systems that connect to this network.

The U.K. delegation met with Fermilab leadership to talk about becoming further involved in research on quantum networks. The delegation included representatives from the British Consulate; BT Group; Department for Science, Innovation and Technology; Heriot Watt University; Innovate UK; National Physical Laboratory; NuQuantum; Toshiba Europe; University of Cambridge; University of Oxford; and University of York. Photo: Dan Svoboda, Fermilab

The delegation also toured laboratory spaces of the Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center at Fermilab. It is one of five DOE national quantum information science research centers signed into existence through the 2018 National Quantum Initiative Act. Two U.K. institutions, Royal Holloway University and the National Physical Laboratory, were invited to join the SQMS Center’s 30 partner institutions earlier this year. Cooperative research and development agreements are now being established to enable these important new partnerships.

After touring the recently inaugurated SQMS quantum garage, the guests concluded their visit with a closeout session with Fermilab’s leadership team.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.