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Optical-Atomic System Integration & Calibration (OASIC)


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials,Quantum Science

OBJECTIVE: Create a user facility for an atom-based quantum testbed for accelerated prototyping, validation, and benchmarking of nanophotonic, optoelectronic, and electronic components and sub-systems that can enable the realization of scalable, low-SWaP atom-based quantum sensors, clocks, computing architectures and other integrated or chip-scale quantum technologies.   

Figure 1: Goal of the OASIC quantum testbeds.

DESCRIPTION: Laser-cooled or ultracold atomic systems have long offered the promise of the highest accuracy, precision, and long-term stability for applications to quantum-enhanced sensing and time-keeping. Techniques of quantum state preparation, manipulation, control, and measurement of these systems have been demonstrated at quantum levels of precision in several atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) experimental platforms. Building upon these developments, neutral atom-based quantum computing platforms have also made dramatic progress in recent years. In conjunction, these developments augur wide-ranging and disruptive opportunities for atom-based quantum technologies in numerous applications of DoD and commercial relevance. 

Despite this promise, the transition of atom-based quantum devices from laboratory-scale demonstrations to robust, high-TRL systems has been disappointingly slow. On the one hand, some of the requisite technologies required for integrated atomic quantum systems such as compact vacuum cells, ion pumps, and chip-scale trapping techniques have made significant progress. On the other hand, there remains a large set of essential technologies required for robust cooling, optical confinement, interrogation and quantum control that have yet to meet the stringent performance requirements needed to supplant larger, laboratory-scale infrastructure. This void has stymied the transition of such atom-based quantum devices to widely deployable, low-SWaP technologies as well as the future scalability of such systems to address a growing landscape of applications in sensing, PNT, and computing. 

In the latter context, there has been encouraging progress in the development of integrated photonic and electronic platforms for a variety of capabilities ranging from on-chip narrow-linewidth laser sources and amplifiers1-8  at wavelengths of relevance to workhorse atomic species; microcomb-driven photonic integrated circuits for the stabilization and distribution of light9 ; low-loss optical modulators and filters that could be harnessed for on-chip trapping, quantum control and interrogation of atoms ; and high-speed optical routing and processing architectures. Similarly, innovative designs of low-latency system-on-chip (SoC) optoelectronic and electronic control architectures10-13  have also made rapid advances to potentially enable operation of integrated atom-based technologies with greater autonomy. Although the current performance of these enabling technologies is still some distance away from matching the performance of conventional equipment, it is anticipated that continued progress in these areas can lead to the maturation of these enabling technologies at a level that can match, and eventually surpass the performance of large-scale laboratory setups. It is also anticipated that the development of such chip-scale or integrated sub-systems can lead to advances and novel capabilities in atom-based quantum technologies that are not currently accessible with current techniques.14, 15

  One of the main bottlenecks in the development of such enabling technologies is the lack of rigorous testing and evaluation procedures that are compatible with the stringent, quantum-limited performance requirements of SoA atom-based sensors, clocks, and computing architectures. While testing methodologies using conventional optical or electronic test equipment are a necessary first step in refining these technologies, such benchmarking data are rarely as informative as benchmarking these photonic or electronic sub-systems against SoA atom-based platforms. Indeed, the most relevant and reliable benchmarking procedures invariably involve measurements and characterizations using ultracold atomic systems as a ‘sensor’ or a validation testbed. For example, standard laser characterization measurements of phase noise, linewidth, and stability of integrated or chip-scale laser sources, while informative, do not compare favorably to the detailed information that can be gleaned by using these laser sources to prepare, interrogate, or control SoA atomic clocks or neutral atom qubits.16  Similar analogies can be made in the context of other photonic and electronic enabling technologies that are necessary for the development of higher-TRL atom-based quantum technologies. In fact, the development of high performance SoC architectures for quantum control and measurement may also have important implications for a deeper understanding and subsequent scalability of several atom-based quantum platforms.17  While preliminary demonstrations of the utility of electronic control architectures have been demonstrated in superconducting qubit platforms18 , their implementation in atomic platforms which demand optical, electronic, and optoelectronic controls is at a much more nascent state. The realization of atom-based testbeds can accelerate the maturation of such components and sub-systems required for the development of next-generation atom-based quantum technologies. Concomitantly, the miniaturization and integration of SoC optical and optoelectronic control systems will lead to enhanced scalability and eventual cost reduction of a wide range of atomic sensors, clocks, and computing architectures. 

Access to such atom-based facilities is currently limited, constraining the iterative design, testing, and development process that is necessary for the maturation of such integrated and on-chip components. It is also the case that such atom-based computing architectures, clocks, or sensing platforms are rarely constructed so as to facilitate the incorporation and testing of a wide range of photonic or electronic sub-systems. This solicitation seeks to develop flexible, high-performance quantum testbeds to fill this void, with the goal of creating widely accessible prototyping capabilities for the accelerated testing, evaluation, and validation of a wide range of components and sub-systems that can enable the realization of atom-based integrated quantum technologies for sensing, computing, and PNT capabilities. ________________________________________________________________  

Phase I will produce a design and analysis of the performance and operation of the proposed quantum testbed user facility, as well as a detailed operation and business plan for the facility. The design documentation must describe the concept, construction, and performance metrics of the proposed testbed. The operation and business plan must describe how facility will allow for broad-scale government, academic, and commercial access, and the long-term funding and sustainment plan. This plan must include an assessment of how the proposed facility will balance the technical requirements of rigorous evaluation and validation of component subsystems against the commercial interests of rapid task sequencing and high throughput. In addition, the documentation must address the following topics to enable assessment of the proposed testbed and its alignment with the goals of the OASIC solicitation: 

•    Proposed testbed system and metrics     
The design documentation must contain a detailed description of the proposed testbed system (e.g. atomic or ionic qubit array, interferometer, sensor etc.) and the base performance metrics of the system (e.g. sensitivity, Allan variance, single- and multi-qubit gate fidelity etc.). The documentation should contain a discussion of how the proposed testbed with these performance metrics can enable more rigorous evaluation and validation of hardware components and sub-systems than can be obtained with conventional, more widely accessible, and non-atom based test equipment. The documentation should contain sufficient justification that the proposed system can be constructed and benchmarked in accordance with the proposed Phase II schedule.

•    Modularity/Flexibility     
The design documentation must contain a discussion of the modularity and flexibility of the proposed quantum testbed so as to enable the incorporation and testing of a wide range of nanophotonic, optoelectronic, and electronic components and sub-systems. It is anticipated that successful designs that will be selected to move forward to Phase II will feature innovative solutions to enable rapid and seamless incorporation of test components into the quantum testbed to benchmark or validate the performance of such components against various requirements of atom-based sensing, computing or information processing. Examples of such requirements include robust cooling and quantum state preparation, control, interrogation, stabilization of the atom-based systems at requisite levels, feedback and feedforward protocols, and system-on-chip signal processing and analysis. The design documentation should include estimates of task scheduling timescales, latencies, and expected throughput for incorporation, testing, and benchmarking of exemplar components and sub-systems relevant to the aforementioned requirements.  

•    Testing capabilities and range of components that can be tested and/or benchmarked      
Atom-based integrated quantum systems such as sensors, clocks, or scalable computing architectures require a wide range of enabling components and technologies including, but not limited to, on-chip light sources and amplifiers; nanophotonic modulators, filters, and other optical routing architectures; low-latency SoC optoelectronic and electronic control architectures for various tasks such as optical cooling, quantum state preparation, control, stabilization, feedforward, and measurement. The design documentation must contain a comprehensive discussion of the testing capabilities of the proposed testbed; the benchmarking precision that can be achieved for these various components; and a clear justification of how the proposed testbed can enable the prototyping and validation of such components at a level beyond conventional (or non-atom-based) benchmarking capabilities. 

•    Documentation and accessibility     
The design documentation must contain a description of the documentation that will be provided to the potential consumer base to facilitate the requisite benchmarking or characterization measurements of various components or sub-systems. An important goal of the OASIC solicitation is to democratize access to SoA atom-based architectures for the evaluation of a wide range of components of relevance to atom-based quantum information technologies. As such, the documentation should also contain a discussion of how the quantum testbed will be made accessible to a wide consumer base including those from non-traditional and non-AMO communities, so as to enable a broad and multi-faceted exploration and evaluation of components, sub-systems, architectures and other enabling technologies for the realization of atom-based integrated quantum devices. 

•    Operation logistics and management      
The design documentation must contain a discussion of the proposal and evaluation process by which the consumer base may be provided access to the quantum testbed to evaluate or benchmark their components. This discussion should include measures to assure transparency of the testing and validation processes; proposed cost structure; the proposed personnel requirements to perform the benchmarking tests; and management and oversight over the benchmarking processes, generated data and intellectual property. The management documentation must include the long-term operation and financial plan to ensure the facility is kept at the forefront of quantum and optical technologies. To ensure broad access, it is preferred that the facility be located at an academic site within close proximity to the small business leading the effort, while the business entity maintain responsibility for operation and management. Working with or creating a consortium that includes multiple academic institutions with a single commercial entity as the lead is encouraged but not necessary.   If the construction of the proposed testbed facility will use components or hardware fabricated or demonstrated at another institution, the design should also document any required licensing agreements to use the components or hardware in question. There should also be a detailed description of how the testbed, when realized, will achieve the Phase II goals detailed below. The Phase I period of performance is 4 months.

Phase II will construct and demonstrate an atom-based quantum testbed based on the Phase I design. The Phase II period of performance is 24 months and should conform to the schedule indicated below. As per this schedule, the construction and benchmarking of the quantum testbed at its design metrics should be completed by Month 20 of Phase II. The final report, due by Month 24, should describe the use of the quantum testbed to test, validate, and benchmark exemplar components using the quantum testbed at a level of precision and rigor that surpasses conventional testing and benchmarking measurements conducted on SoA non-atom-based test equipment. 

Phase II fixed payable milestones should include:
•    Month 2: Report on the acquisition and fabrication schedule of all components required in the Phase I design of the quantum testbed; and a delivery, assembly, and testing schedule for these components. As applicable, the report shall also document the need for researching, developing, and implementing any customized scientific techniques that are required to meet the required capabilities of the quantum testbed. 
•    Month 6: Interim report describing component fabrication, testing and performance with comparisons relative to specifications of Phase I design. 
•    Month 9: PI meeting presentation material, including demonstration of progress to date, presentations of accomplishments, upcoming tasks, and near-term schedule. 
•    Month 12: Interim report describing progress on assembly of quantum testbed, preliminary tests and/or demonstrations of operation of completed sub-systems. The report shall include a discussion of any differences between the realized system and/or sub-system performance and the design requirements, and the impact of such differences on the performance of the final quantum testbed. Significant differences between Phase I design metrics and realized performance should include appropriate risk mitigation strategies that will be implemented to ensure adequate testbed performance. 
•    Month 16: PI meeting presentation material, including demonstration of progress to date, presentations of accomplishments, upcoming tasks, and near-term schedule. 
•    Month 20: Report describing the complete construction and characterization of the quantum testbed at the requisite metrics specified in the Phase I design. The report shall document any modifications to the original design, departures from design metrics, and the impact of such modifications or departures on the eventual capabilities of the quantum testbed. 
•    Month 24: Final Phase II report describing demonstration of testing, characterization, and/or benchmarking of exemplar nanophotonic, optoelectronic, or electronic components and/or sub-systems using the quantum testbed facility. Report of these benchmarking tests should include a comparison of the benchmarking results against SoA non-atom based tests of the same components and/or sub-sustems. The report should include a discussion of how the quantum testbed enabled measurements and benchmarking beyond the capabilities of SoA non-atom based measurements. Lastly, the report shall document the scientific advances and customized scientific techniques that were achieved under the program to enable the realization of the testbed facility.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The development of integrated, low-SWaP quantum systems for applications to sensing, PNT, and atom-based quantum computing architectures are each of critical relevance to several DoD applications. In addition, these technologies are crucial for various commercial markets including communications, logistics, exploration of natural resources, pharmaceuticals, and scientific research. It is anticipated that the OASIC quantum testbeds will be a crucial enabler for the rapid design, development, and prototyping of a range of hardware components that are necessary for the realization of such atom-based integrated quantum technologies.

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18.    V. Nguyen et al, Deep reinforcement learning for efficient measurement of quantum devices, NPJ Quant. Info. 7, 100 (2021)

KEYWORDS: Quantum, Testbed, Qubits, Sensors, PNT, Nanophotonics, Control, Integration, Rydberg, Quantum Computing, Photonic Integrated Circuits, Chip-scale Quantum Technologies

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