Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science Conference

Members of the Quantum Moonshot team will be giving multiple talks at the 2023 Fio+LS event on October 9-12 in Tacoma, WA. For a complete list, see the conference agenda.

Oct 9 - 12, 2023
All day

Quantum Moonshot

The Quantum Moonshot project, a research collaboration between MITRE, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of Arizona, has made significant strides towards realizing a scalable, error-corrected quantum computer. 

The Quantum Moonshot team will present their most recent work at the Frontiers in Optics 2023 conference to be held October 9 through October 13 Tacoma, Washington. More than 15 members of the Quantum Moonshot team will give talks or poster sessions at the conference. 

In 2023, the Quantum Moonshot program moved from developing foundational technology to focusing on development of an integrated architecture for scalable quantum information processing with hybrid quantum bits (qubits) comprised of quantum states of photons and spins. These groundbreaking achievements include:

  • Technologies for controlling large numbers of qubits using light and mechanical forces.
  • A new type of optical chip for quantum information processing utilizing atom control photonic integrated circuits that can integrate thousands of optical channels for addressing diamond color centers—a leading solid-state qubit.
  • Nanoelectromechanical control of qubit frequencies using strain applied by microscopic cantilevers.
  • Coherent microwave control of tin-vacancy qubits in diamond with optical initialization, readout and long coherence times. The tin-vacancies’ spin states can encode quantum information.

The Quantum Moonshot team has pulled together world-class expertise and chosen an approach utilizing a hybrid qubit architecture to develop the world’s first fully universal, scalable quantum computer and integrated quantum network. This approach combines the unique quantum mechanical properties of light and with those of certain charged particles to create quantum bits. 

"Our breakthroughs in quantum control and integration will enable the next generation of quantum technologies. With continued support, our team is well-positioned to demonstrate capabilities that push beyond the limits of classical computing power," said Professor Dirk Englund, MIT Professor and co-leader of the Quantum Moonshot.

“Our CMOS-foundry fabricated photonic integrated circuit technology and the qubit control it provides, combined with the team's advances in heterogenous integration of diamond, quantum theory, and understanding of diamond-based quantum memories, provide a path to creating a general-purpose quantum computer with a level of qubit connectivity and scalability not possible with almost any other approach,” said Professor Matt Eichenfield, University of Arizona Professor and co-leader of the Quantum Moonshot.

“This collaborative effort highlights the power of teaming national labs, academia, and Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers to accelerate progress in quantum information science,” said Dr. Gerald Gilbert, MITRE Fellow and leader of the Quantum Moonshot project.

The Quantum Moonshot Team

Dr Gerald Gilbert

Dr. Gerald Gilbert holds the position of MITRE Fellow, which is the highest technical recognition that MITRE bestows.

Dr. Gilbert has performed research in theoretical physics spanning areas from string theory to quantum gravity to quantum information theory. He leads MITRE’s flagship quantum research project, the Quantum Moonshot, one of the largest research projects MITRE has ever taken on. The Quantum Moonshot team is a partnership of leading physics research groups at MITRE, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Sandia National Laboratories.

He earned his doctorate in theoretical physics under Nobel Laureate Professor Steven Weinberg at the University of Texas. After earning his Ph.D., Gilbert was awarded the Weingart Prize Research Fellowship in Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, after which he was awarded a University Research Fellowship at Cambridge University (studying and conducting research under Professor Stephen Hawking).

Dr. Gilbert is a member of the Board of Advisors of SandboxAQ, an enterprise SaaS company. He has served on the U.S. Defense Science Board and the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board as an expert on quantum information science and has participated in many expert scientific panels and public forums.


Dr Dirk Englund

Dr. Dirk Englund, a member of the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty, leads MIT’s Quantum Photonics Laboratory. His research focuses on photonic devices and systems for machine learning acceleration and quantum information. 

His recognitions include the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, the 2011 Sloan Fellowship in Physics, the 2012 DARPA Young Faculty Award, the 2017 ACS Photonics Young Investigator Award, the OSA's 2017 Adolph Lomb Medal, a Bose Research Fellowship in 2018, a Humboldt Research Fellowship in 2020, and a Humboldt Professorship (declined). He is a fellow of Optica. 

Dr. Englund received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology. After a Fulbright fellowship at Eindhoven University of Technology, he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering and his doctorate in applied physics at Stanford University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, he joined Columbia University as Assistant Professor of electrical engineering and applied physics. He joined the MIT faculty in 2013.


Dr Matt Eichnfield

Dr. Matt Eichenfield is an Associate Professor and the SPIE Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona Wyant College of Optical Sciences.  He is also Sandia National Labs’ first Distinguished Faculty Joint Appointee. At Sandia, he built and leads the MEMS-Enabled Quantum Systems Program in the MEMS Technologies Department. He engages in research across both the university and Sandia. 

Previously, he was a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia, where he led a large group of Ph.D. and master-level technical staff members, postdoctoral scholars, technologists, and graduate and undergraduate students with a multi-million dollar yearly operating budget. They worked on solving important science and engineering problems for national security.

Dr. Eichenfield received his bachelor’s in physics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the California Institute of Technology. He received the Demetriades Prize for Best Caltech Thesis. 

After obtaining his Ph.D., he was awarded the Kavli Nanoscience Institute Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech. In 2011, he was awarded the President Harry S. Truman Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering. 

About MITRE Moonshots

MITRE Moonshot efforts are high-risk, potentially disruptive research endeavors that require significant investment but could produce significant returns to the nation.  Large in scale, and with multi-year program plans, Moonshots seek to fundamentally alter the nation’s technical capabilities and approaches to complex problems, while simultaneously establishing the corporation as a consensus thought leader in these important, possibly emerging domains.