ADELPHI, Md. — Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth designated the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory as one of the four Department of Defense Quantum Information Science Research Centers.
In a June 14, 2023 memorandum, the secretary said that DEVCOM ARL has in-house and extramural efforts in key Quantum Information Science, and QIS-enabled technologies and systems, such as atomic clocks and sensors for navigation, computers for classically intractable problems in information security and networks for connecting quantum technologies.
“The Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory is the Army’s primary research laboratory for QIS and has rapidly become a world leader in QIS,” the secretary wrote.
This designation means DEVCOM ARL researchers will participate in high-level government workshops to develop the next National Quantum Initiative and other national-level strategies, as well as engage with public and private organizations to accelerate research and development of QIS.
“This helps better position DEVCOM ARL and the Army in U.S. strategic discussions on quantum,” said DEVCOM ARL Director Dr. Patrick Baker.
The Army's senior research scientist for Quantum Science, Dr. Fredrik Fatemi, said QIS research has many opportunities from near term to long term.
“QIS already forms the backbone of tools we take for granted, such as atomic clocks for the Global Positioning System. In the nearer term, we will see revolutionary advances in timekeeping and sensing, while in the longer term, quantum computing and other entanglement-enhanced quantum technologies could lead to disruptive technological surprise,” Fatemi said. “The spectrum of opportunity is broad both in time to maturity and in the application space.”
In 2018, the federal government passed the National Quantum Initiative Act, to “provide for the continued leadership of the United States in QIS and its technology applications. It calls for a coordinated Federal program to accelerate quantum research and development for the economic and national security of the United States.”
More recently, the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the service secretaries to establish or designate QIS Research Centers to move this technology forward.
Fatemi said DEVCOM ARL significant accomplishments include:
- The world’s first quantum sensor for receiving radio-frequency communications signals, which has received substantial attention across the services, industry and academia
- Programs to develop a Low-Cost Chip Scale Atomic Clock for battlefield timekeeping
- Substantial collaborative efforts across the U.S., including laboratories at the Adelphi Laboratory Center in Maryland, University of Texas at Austin and MIT in Boston
“We also established the Quantum Technology Center in partnership with the University of Maryland in 2020, which has grown DEVCOM ARL’s footprint and impact in QIS,” Fatemi said. “DEVCOM ARL is also leading quantum programs across DEVCOM in advanced clocks and sensors, as well as several partnerships with industry.”
According to Fatemi, DEVCOM ARL’s extramural arm, the Army Research Office, has been shaping QIS research worldwide for decades. For example, without ARO, the United States would not have the industrial quantum computing companies that exist today, he said, as almost all are founded and led by researchers originally funded by ARO and their government partners over the past 30 years.
In-house QIS efforts increased significantly in 2015, and the laboratory has since published well over 200 research articles in QIS.
“Future research will impact the Army of 2040 and beyond by enabling the warfighter to measure better and decide faster,” Fatemi said. “It’s why QIS is a priority research area for the Army.”
Quantum Information Science focuses on nonintuitive properties of nature that typically only occur at microscopic length scales and below, he said.
“Harnessing these properties will lead to revolutionary advances in timekeeping and sensing, and it will result in disruptive capabilities in computing and communications for the Soldier,” he said.
As the Army’s foundational research laboratory, ARL is operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command.