CAREER: Synthesis of molecular electronic-spin based qubits enabled by new empirically derived design principles

Project: Research project

Project Details


Quantum information processing (QIP) is a technique proposed for the resolution of a host of fundamental scientific questions, ranging from protein folding to the simulation of quantum systems. Currently, the field of QIP is at the early stage of creating and understanding the fundamental unit of QIP, the qubit. Any object that can be placed into a superposition of two states can be used as a qubit. Electronic spin is an appealing qubit candidate for synthetic chemists because the qubits can be manipulated by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, and their parameters can be tuned using chemical synthesis. Yet, the synthesis of viable candidate qubits has been stymied by rapid decoherence of electronic spin in molecules. As such, the synthesis and fundamental study of molecules with long-lived quantum coherences necessitates rational synthetic design principles to inform and enable the design of future long-lived qubits This proposal seeks to (1) develop empirically derived design principles for the synthesis of electronic spin-based qubits with long-lived quantum coherences, (2) employ these principles to synthesize candidate qubits, and (3) scale new systems to develop multiple qubits in a single molecule. The research proposed herein is highly fundamental and the empirically derived design principles will provide key insight into decoherence. The fourth aim of this proposal is to connect research with education through three new initiatives. In the first initiative, the primary literature will be incorporated into the introductory chemistry curriculum. Students in the PI’s general chemistry class will write new Wikipedia pages on modern scientific discoveries aided by a science librarian and a dedicated graduate student instructor. Constructing these pages will educate the students on the primary literature, thus creating a foundation for engaging in literature research. The tangible products they create will be disseminated to the general public, contributing to general scientific literacy. In a separate initiative, the PI will work with the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) to design and implement a new exhibit, which will feature the PI’s research on magnetic anisotropy and include a video of the PI describing magnetism. Finally, mentoring is a key component of connecting education with scientific research. In addition to mentoring graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, the PI is establishing a colloquium for students to present their research and connect with other students in the Chicago area.
Effective start/end date7/15/156/30/20


  • National Science Foundation (CHE-1455017)


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