Paper from Diraq in Nature Nanotechnology opens the year, featuring Prof Andrew Dzurak, Dr Will Gilbert and Dr Tuomo Tanttu [Grant Turner/Diraq]
A new paper from Diraq in Nature Nanotechnology opens the year, featuring Prof Andrew Dzurak, Dr Will Gilbert and Dr Tuomo Tanttu [Grant Turner/Diraq]

IT’S BEEN AN EVENTFUL YEAR for Australia's quantum sector, with prizes, funding successes, start-up investments, new collaborations, product launches and notable research papers . Here is our news summary for the year that was 2023.

New spin control method brings billion-qubit quantum chips closer
The year opened with engineers at start-up Diraq and UNSW announcing they had discovered a previously unknown effect that makes compact, ultra-fast control of spin qubits possible, which could prove essential to making large-scale silicon quantum computers a reality. It was published in the international journal Nature Nanotechnology.

NSW invests $3 million in Sydney semiconductor facility
The NSW Government allocated $3 million to create an Advanced Prototype Packaging Facility that can produce commercial-grade packaged semiconductor and photonic device prototypes at low to mid-volumes in two locations in the Tech Central district, one run by UTS and one by University of Sydney. They will service priority industries like quantum computing, robotics, aerospace, defence and biotechnology. It will be headed by UTS A/Prof Nathan Langford.

Quantum Computing Summer School
Sydney Quantum Academy staged a week-long Quantum Computing Summer Camp with guest speakers, live online lessons, experiments and a visit to quantum labs. Run jointly with U.S. non-profit Qubit by Qubit and with scholarships sponsored by IBM Quantum, 29 high school students took part – from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, and ACT; from cities and regional areas; and from public and private schools. Students identifying as female made up 50%, with 47% being culturally and linguistically diverse, 25% LGBTQIA+ and 3% non-binary.

Quantum-enabled super-resolution imaging lands $415,154 grant
Dr Zixin Huang, Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) at Macquarie University, won a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award worth $415,154 to design a large-scale, quantum-enabled imaging system that will boost the resolution of state-of-the-art instruments by 3-5 orders of magnitude. She’s also a graduate of the Sydney Quantum Academy scholarship program.

‘Flip-flop’ qubit a new quantum bit in silicon controlled by electric signals
UNSW researchers demonstrated, in the international journal Science Advances, a new type of quantum bit in silicon, called ‘flip-flop’ qubit, which can facilitate the construction of a large-scale quantum computer.

Quantum Australia industry conference sells out – again
The 2023 Quantum Australia Conference and Careers Fair, staged by the Sydney Quantum Academy, brought together 829 researchers, industry players and government from around the world (77% Australia/NZ, 8% Asia, 7% North America, 6% Europe). There were 69 speakers, 21 panels and 29 sponsors and exhibitors and 48 research posters were presented. Industry attendees made up 37%, Academics 17%, Government 13% and Students 32%. Feedback surveys showed 84% found it beneficial and 84% would recommend the event to others.

Long range secured communications attracts $700,000 investment
Prof Igor Aharonovich and Prof Milos Toth received $700,000 in strategic allocation funding from the University of Technology Sydney to build on their existing work in quantum cryptography for long range secured communications.

Quantum computing device start-up raises $26 million
Australian start-up Quantum Brilliance – the company behind miniaturised, room-temperature quantum computing products – raised $26 million from investors, including Breakthrough Victoria, Main Sequence, Investible, Ultratech Capital, MA Financial, Jelix Ventures, Rampersand and CM Equity.

Australia's Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, speaking at Quantum Australia 2023 [SQA]
Australia's Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, speaking at Quantum Australia 2023 [SQA]

Entanglement maps exact location of nuclear spins in silicon chip
Sydney quantum computing start-up Silicon Quantum Computing detailed, in the international journal Advanced Materials, how it used entanglement to precisely map the location of individual nuclear spins in a silicon chip – a significant achievement in the field of quantum sensing.

Quantum technology foundry in $7.4 million expansion
The University of Sydney announced a $7.4 million investment to expand its quantum technology facilities to establish the Future Qubit Foundry at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub.

New quantum tool probes nature with extremely sensitivity
A new spin measuring device, designed by UNSW engineers and revealed in the international journal Science Advances, may help scientists – particularly in chemistry and biology – understand the structure and purpose of materials better.

Scientists open door to manipulating ‘quantum light’
In the journal Nature Physics, scientists at the University of Sydney and University of Basel showed, for the first time, how to manipulate and identify small numbers of interacting photons – packets of light energy – with high correlation, which may advance medical imaging and quantum computing.

Quantum sensing using OLEDs to image magnetic fields
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science at UNSW demonstrated, in the international journal Nature Communications, that OLEDs (a type of semiconductor material used in smartphone screens) can be used to map magnetic fields using quantum magnetic resonance.

CSIRO funded for quantum PhDs in research boost
National science agency CSIRO was named the beneficiary of $3.6 million in federal government funding for quantum PhDs promised in the lead up to the 2022 election.

UTS and Standards Australia launch two quantum whitepapers
A/Prof Nathan Langford and A/Prof Simon Devitt, from the Centre for Quantum Software and Information at UTS co-authored two whitepapers with Standards Australia on quantum computing, standardisation and quantum communication networks: Whitepaper 1: ‘At the Intersection Between Scalable Quantum Computing and Standardisation’; Whitepaper 2: ‘At the intersection between Quantum Communication Networks and Standardisation’.

National Quantum Collaboration Initiative kicks off 
The Australian Department of Industry, Science and Resources asked Sydney Quantum Academy to manage the National Quantum Collaboration Initiative, a core component of Theme 3 of Australia’s National Quantum Strategy.  This will see consultations with quantum stakeholders across the country on how we can work together to create the future quantum workforce in Australia

Research into quantum processor wins ARC Industry Fellowships funding
Dr Kok Chan of UNSW Engineering was awarded $764,472 for ‘Scalable semiconductor quantum processor with flip chip bonding technology’ from the Australian Research Council’s new Mid-Career Industry Fellowships program.

Front cover of the Engineers Australia magazine, Create, April 2023 [Engineers Australia]
Front cover of the Engineers Australia magazine, Create, April 2023 [Engineers Australia]

Entanglement transformation procedure proposed for quantum information
A pair of papers, with the first published in SIAM Journal on Computing “On the Complexity of Isomorphism Problems for Tensors, Groups, and Polynomials I: Tensor Isomorphism-Completeness” by UTS’s Youming Qiao and a US colleague. The second published in “On the Complexity of Isomorphism Problems for Tensors, Groups, and Polynomials III: Actions by Classical Groups” by UTS’s Zhili Chen, Youming Qiao, Gang Tang, Chuanqi Zhang and a US colleague.

‘Seizing the moment’: Australia’s rising quantum prowess celebrated
SQA's Quantum Australia 2023 conference – and quantum technologies generally – were the cover story of the April 2023 issue of Create, the Engineers Australia magazine. The overview of the Australian quantum scene quoted Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley; Federal Industry and Science Minister, Ed Husic; Q-CTRL’s Prof Michael Biercuk; and Diraq’s Prof Andrew Dzurak.

Australia’s National Quantum Strategy launched
The National Quantum Strategy was launched on 3 May 2023 by the Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon Ed Husic MP, and Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley – a plan to enhance and grow the enormous economic potential of quantum technologies.

‘Jellybeans’ discovery a solution for overcrowding in quantum chips
Engineers at Sydney start-up Diraq and UNSW showed, in a new study published in the international journal Advanced Materials, how a jellybean-shaped quantum dot creates more breathing space in a microchip packed with qubits.

Start-up joins German state-backed alliance
Quantum Brilliance, a leading Australian-German manufacturer of quantum computing hardware, was selected as an alliance partner for the Quantum Technology Alliance Baden-Württemberg (QuantumBW) to promote application-oriented solutions for quantum computing.

Aussie quantum leader sets up shop in Europe, UK
Sydney quantum company Q-CTRL opened research and product development offices in Berlin and the UK to capitalise on global expertise, investment and the AUKUS security pact, as it develops “software-defined” quantum sensors and infrastructure.

Pawsey and Xanadu form global partnership for Australian quantum scientists
Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre and Canadian quantum computing company Xanadu signed a memorandum of understanding to work together and test the capabilities of integrating high-performance computing and quantum computing technologies.

FLEET wins $3.8 million for silicon-based quantum-computer tech
A team led by Prof Alexander Hamilton of FLEET (Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies) at UNSW received $3.8 million in ARC funding for ground-breaking silicon-based quantum-computer technology to dramatically speed up computation, enabling Australia to maintain its global lead in quantum technologies.

Advance in control of qubit wavefunctions in devices
Sydney start-up Silicon Quantum Computing published a paper in Nature Electronics detailing how atomic-scale spatial resolution is used to control and locally probe the wavefunctions of atomic quantum dots in silicon, applicable in future quantum processors.

Young Macquarie University researcher shines
Dr Kerstin Beer of Macquarie University, a recent graduate of the Sydney Quantum Academy scholarship program, won an EQUS Deborah Jin Fellowship; her research focuses on quantum error correction and quantum machine learning. She was also a winner of the 2023 EQUS Director’s Medal, awarded for excellence in collaborative enquiry in quantum physics.

UTS’s A/Prof Youming Qiao (left) was part of an international team who have proposed a new post-quantum cryptographic signature algorithm known as ALTEQ [SQA]

UTS/UWS contribute to global post-quantum cryptographic algorithm
An international team – including Youming Qiao and Gang Tang at UTS plus Dung Hoang Duong of University of Wollongong – proposed a new post-quantum cryptographic signature algorithm, known as ALTEQ; it is part of a global effort led by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Quantum start-up joins Defence Trailblazer program
Quantum start-up Diraq was one of 35 industry partners in the $240 million Defence Trailblazer program aimed at accelerating defence innovation and strengthen Australia’s national security.

Quantx Labs to demonstrate quantum clocks in space
QuantX Labs is leading a consortium of industry and academic teams in the KAIROS mission for the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars initiative.

Layered materials as a platform for quantum technologies
Prof Igor Aharonovich of UTS – along with German, American and British colleagues – published a paper in Nature Nanotechnology reviewing the potential for using Layered materials like van der walls crystals in quantum technologies.

Australian quantum computing start-up SQC raises $50.4 million
Silicon Quantum Computing closed a $50.4m Series A capital raising to fund its ongoing quest to manufacture a scalable, error-corrected quantum computer.

Solving bottlenecks in quantum computing lands $3 million industry funding
A project – led by UNSW spin-out company Diraq, UNSW and Perceptia Devices Australia – aimed at improving bottlenecks in the development of full-scale quantum computing, has been awarded $3 million in the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects funding.

Q-CTRL raises US$54 million in funding round
Quantum control infrastructure software start-up Q-CTRL in Sydney announced the addition of Morpheus Ventures as a new investor in their record-setting Series B funding round, which has raised US$54 million.

Queensland launches quantum and advanced tech strategy
Queensland announced a five-pillar strategy to build a local quantum ecosystem and grow advanced technologies such as photonics, microelectromechanical systems, superconductors and compound semiconductors. The initiative includes science capability, commercialisation and workforce development.

Simple protocol proposed for fault-tolerant, error-corrected quantum computation
Scientific paper published in the international journal Physical Review Research: ‘Transversal injection for direct encoding of ancilla states for non-Clifford gates using stabilizer codes’ by UTS’s Jason Gavriel, Alexandru Paler, Simon Devitt and Michael Bremner; plus Alexis Shaw of start-up Diraq.

Artists explore of quantum science in exhibition
Quantum technologies research centre EQUS opened an art exhibition at M2 Gallery in Sydney, showcasing 34 entries to the 2022 EQUS Quantum Art Competition, including the winner, runner-up and all the finalists.

ANU physicists raise $10 million for quantum sensor start-up
A deep tech start-up cofounded by three globally recognised atomic physicists at ANU has raised $12 million to develop miniaturised quantum sensors for mining, underground resources and navigation.

anessa Olaya Agudelo and Dr Christophe Valahu with the quantum computer used in the experiment detailed in Nature Chemistry [Stefanie Zingsheim/University of Sydney]
Vanessa Olaya Agudelo and Dr Christophe Valahu with the quantum computer used in the experiment detailed in Nature Chemistry [Stefanie Zingsheim/University of Sydney]

Contribution made to parameterised complexity theory in quantum
Paper delivered at 18th Theory of Quantum Computation, Communication and Cryptography in Aveiro, Portugal, by UTS’s Michael Bremner, Luke Mathieson and Mauro Morales: “Parameterized Complexity of Weighted Local Hamiltonian Problems and the Quantum Exponential Time Hypothesis”

Three quantum start-ups share $7 million in NSW grants | July 2023
Quantum start-up Diraq won the lion’s share of a one-off NSW government $7 million quantum commercialisation fund, pocketing $3 million, alongside $2.34 million for Q-CTRL and $1.44 million for Quantum Brilliance.

Quantum researcher nets $1.1 million ARC Future Fellowship
University of Sydney A/Prof Ivan Kassal received a grant of $1,114,292 to enable a new capability for simulating practically relevant chemical dynamics and reactivity in regimes where conventional computational chemistry fails.

New framework proposed to categorise spin models in quantum
Paper delivered at 18th Theory of Quantum Computation, Communication and Cryptography in Aveiro, Portugal, authored by Samuel Elman and Ryan Mann of UTS and Adrian Chapman of the University of Oxford: “A Unified Graph-Theoretic Framework for Free-Fermion Solvability”.

World record broken in quantum teleportation
An international team of researchers – from Australia, Singapore, China and the United States – developed a technology that shattered a world record in continuous variable quantum teleportation. The technology offers a viable pathway to high-performance quantum networks.

Quantum device slows chemical process by factor of 100 billion
Scientists at the University of Sydney used a quantum computer to engineer and directly observe a process critical in chemical reactions by slowing it down by a factor of 100 billion times, they reported in Nature Chemistry. The world-first experimental result displays the potential for using quantum technology to explore new designs in material science, drugs or solar energy harvesting.

Scientists receive $900,000 to develop quantum sensors and qubits
Dr Maja Cassidy of UNSW received $457,500 for research of on-chip microwave generation and detection to develop a project to develop new sensors for biological, chemical and astronomical processes; while Dr Xanthe Croot of University of Sydney was awarded $449,744 to build a new class of intrinsically error-resilient quantum bits.

Australian quantum start-ups partner in multi-million-dollar projects
Sydney-based quantum start-ups Q-CTRL and Diraq announced they will partner on three multi-million-dollar projects to expand the commercial adoption of quantum computing for the NSW Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund and the U.S. Army Research Office.

The National Quantum Industry and Workforce Development Review, published by Sydney Quantum Academy in November 2023 [SQA]
The National Quantum Industry and Workforce Development Review, published by Sydney Quantum Academy in November 2023 [SQA]

Q-CTRL wins 2023 Start-up Daily’s Most Innovative Start-up Award
Leading Australian quantum start-up Q-CTRL was crowned as the Most Innovative Start-up at the 2023 Start-up Daily Best in Tech Awards celebrating the best of Australia’s start-up community.

Australians featured at Quantum World Congress
Australians made up 12% of speakers at this leading global industry event in Washington DC, including Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist; Prof Peter Turner, CEO of SQA; Prof Michael Biercuk, CEO of Q-CTRL; Dr Emma Mitchell, Quantum Devices Leader at CSIRO; and Prof Andrew White, Director of EQUS.

More quantum undergraduate research scholarships offered
For the fourth year running, Sydney Quantum Academy offered the Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program over the summer of 2023-24, in which NSW undergraduate students experience research in a lab over six weeks. There were 38 successful applicants (21% female), for a total of 112 over the past four years (27% female).

U.S. agency extends $3 million quantum defence program with UTS
The U.S. Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) extended its Quantum Benchmarking program with the UTS Centre for Quantum Software and Information into Phase 2, totalling $3 million in funds for UTS. It is aimed at estimating the long-term utility of quantum computers and the hardware-specific resources required to achieve DARPA’s goals. Industry partners include Boeing, General Motors, HRL Labs, Zapata, Rigetti and IonQ.

Quantum student Ali Fawaz wins University Medal
Ali Fawaz, a quantum student and SQA Scholar at Macquarie University, was awarded the University Medal in Physics for exceptional academic excellence. He completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science with a Major in Physics, completed a Masters of Research, and is now working as a PhD student with Prof Thomas Volz on ‘coherent control of spin defects at low temperatures’.

Making stable solid state quantum light sources
A project to overcome the bottleneck of spectral instability in hexagonal boron nitride, which hampers the creation of optically stable solid state quantum light sources and prohibits the engineering of practical quantum devices, will be explored by a team led by Prof Milos Toth of UTS, who received an ARC Discovery grant of $627,581.

Quantum computing leader delivers 2023 ABC Boyer Lectures
Leading quantum researcher Prof Michelle Simmons, CEO Silicon Quantum Computing, delivered four lectures exploring quantum physics, manufacturing at the atomic scale, women in science, and why Australia is perfectly positioned to build the world’s first error corrected quantum computer.

International quantum error correction conference in Sydney
The 6th International Conference on Quantum Error Correction was held in Sydney, bringing together global experts from academia and industry to discuss theoretical, experimental and technological research towards robust quantum computation. A YouTube channel showcased presentations from the conference.

New Honours & Masters quantum scholarships launched
CSIRO and Sydney Quantum Academy offered 16 new Honours and three Masters research scholarships under CSIRO’s Next Generation program for domestic students in quantum technology.

Quantum algebras land ARC Discovery grant
A project led by Prof Alexander Molev of the University of Sydney received an ARC Discovery grant of $387,592. It aims to make fundamental advances in the theory of quantum algebras, and develop explicit structure and representation theory of major classes of quantum algebras which are of great importance to quantum field theory and integrable models with supersymmetries.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hands UNSW Professor Michelle Simmons her medal for the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science [DISR]

Q-CTRL to help build quantum workforces in Australia, USA
Sydney start-up Q-CTRL announced it is partnering with the Quad Investors Network to deliver quantum technology training and help build diverse quantum workforces in Australia and the USA, with its Black Opal quantum educational technology software accessible to students.

Using machine learning for quantum molecular research
A project to devise quantum generative diffusion models in machine learning to help understand quantum data that naturally arises in molecular research, led by Prof Dacheng Tao of the University of Sydney, received an ARC Discovery grant of $522,390.

Atomic electronics pioneer wins Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
Prof Michelle Simmons of UNSW, who is also CEO quantum start-up Silicon Quantum Computing, won the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for her achievements in creating the field of atomic electronics and working on building an error-corrected quantum computer in Australia.

Army Quantum Next Generation Minesweeper Challenge 2023
Teams of undergrad and postgrad students took part in this month-long event exploring the advantages of quantum magnetometers to detect landmines, run by the Australian Army Research Centre.

Quantum microscopy facility receives $1.1 million in ARC funding
A UNSW team of 15 researchers received $1,100,000 in ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grants for a quantum microscopy facility that will enable state-of-the-art capabilities that will providing cutting-edge tools to enable advances in photonics, quantum devices, nanomaterials, biotechnology, and energy technology.

Research in quantum cryptography wins ARC Discovery grant
A/Prof Timothy Scott Trudgian at UNSW Canberra was awarded $473,190 to investigate connections between analytic and algebraic number theory that will help betetr understand classical and quantum cryptographic protocols.

Quantum physicist wins NSW Premier's Prize
Prof Michael Biercuk, Director of the Quantum Control Lab at the University of Sydney and the CEO and founder of Q-CNTRL, won the Leadership in Innovation in NSW category of the NSW Premier's Prizes for Science and Engineering.

Quantum education explored in Standards Australia/UTS whitepaper
A/Prof Nathan Langford and A/Prof Simon Devitt, from the Centre for Quantum Software and Information at UTS, co-authored a whitepaper with Standards Australia on quantum education, training and literacy, highlighting the urgent need to bridge the talent gap in quantum technology. The whitepaper can be found here.

Australian-German start-up partners with UK’s Hartree Centre
Quantum Brilliance, a developer of miniaturised room-temperature quantum computing products, announced a strategic collaboration with UK-based Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre to accelerate quantum computing toward wide application of room-temperature diamond quantum devices.

IBM Quantum integrates Q-CTRL’s error suppression technology
Sydney quantum start-up Q-CTRL’s quantum infrastructure software for error suppression and performance management will now run natively as an option on IBM Quantum Pay-As-You-Go plan – the first time a third-party independent software vendor’s solution has been used in this way.

Prof Thomas Volz in Macquarie University's QMAPP lab [Lachlan Rogers/Macquarie]
Prof Thomas Volz in Macquarie University's QMAPP lab [Lachlan Rogers/Macquarie]

National quantum industry report launched
The National Quantum Industry and Workforce Development Review, published by Sydney Quantum Academy, is based on a year-long survey of Australia’s nascent quantum industry, from start-ups to potential users. It found quantum tech is a massive opportunity, but global competition, a lack of investment firepower and a scarcity of talent will hamper growth.

New framework for developing approximation algorithms established
Scientific paper accepted into the international journal PRX Quantum, “Algorithmic cluster expansions for quantum problems” by postdoctoral fellow Ryan Mann from UTS Centre for Quantum Software and Information and Romy Minko from the University of Bristol.

Systematic study of complexity of quantum ‘divide and conquer’ algorithms
Paper accepted for delivery at Quantum Information Processing conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in January 2024, by UTS’s Jonathan Allcock, Jinge Bao, Aleksandrs Belovs, Troy Lee and Miklos Santha: ‘On the quantum time complexity of divide and conquer’.

Quantum students engaging with industry
As of December 2023, more than 700 PhD and undergraduate students have taken part in 18 industry events staged by Sydney Quantum Academy, including conferences, workshops and industry PhD events (eg. hackathons, Quantum Innovators Network presentations, etc) since 2020.

Using exciton polaritons to explore the cascaded emission of photons
“Probing many-body correlations using quantum-cascade correlation spectroscopy” a paper by Prof. Thomas Volz of Macquarie University et al in Nature Physics (in press - see arxiv).

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