Projects span quantum computing for fusion plasma science, quantum behavior at high-energy-densities, and fusion-relevant quantum sensing

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $11 million for ten projects in Quantum Information Science (QIS) with relevance to fusion and plasma science.

Fusion energy research seeks to harness the same energy that powers the sun and stars as a clean, safe, and abundant source of energy on earth. This is accomplished through the study of plasma, the fourth state of matter, and how it interacts with its surroundings across wide ranges of temperature and density. QIS research explores forms of computing and information processing to bypass “classical” physical limitations by relying on quantum effects. Through joint research in fusion energy and QIS, these awards have the potential to accelerate progress in fusion energy research through advances in QIS, and to advance QIS through innovative techniques enabled by plasma science.

“We are excited to continue our efforts to build a community of QIS researchers for our program,” said James Van Dam, DOE Associate Director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). “These awards enrich our QIS portfolio and address many of the priority research opportunities in this area identified through our engagement with the fusion energy sciences and QIS communities.”

Projects funded in this announcement will explore opportunities for quantum computing to advance fusion and plasma science, investigate using quantum sensors to enhance the range and accuracy of fusion plasma measurements, and apply innovative quantum techniques to examine new materials in extreme conditions.

“I’m pleased that the University of Maryland will be receiving new funding from the Department of Energy for projects in fusion energy sciences,” said House Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, whose district includes the University of Maryland, one of the awardees. “With this funding, the University of Maryland will help lead critical research on fusion energy, which is vital in our work to combat the climate crisis and move our nation toward cleaner sources of energy. I congratulate the University on this exciting funding and look forward to seeing the research they produce.”

"To tackle the climate emergency, we need to invest in the next generation of breakthrough technologies. Quantum information science plan an important role in cutting-edge energy research and focus on ways to address pressing energy challenges. This funding will provide resources for critical fusion energy and plasma-related projects including quantum information field research at the University of Maryland. I'm proud to support this innovative work being done by our scientists and I will continue working in Congress to ensure they have the resources they need to keep America competitive," said Senator Van Hollen.

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for Quantum Information Science Research for Fusion Energy Sciences and a companion National Laboratory Announcement.

Total funding is $11 million for projects lasting up to three years in duration, with $4.8 million in outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The list of projects can be found on the FES homepage under the heading What’s New.”