RFI: Cross Quantum Technology Systems


THIS IS NOT A SOLICITATION FOR PROPOSALS. THIS IS A SOURCES SOUGHT SYNOPSIS ONLY. This Request for Information (RFI) is for planning and informational purposes only and shall not be considered as a request for proposals or as an obligation on the part of the Government to acquire any products or services. No entitlement to payment of direct or indirect costs or charges by the Government will arise as a result of contractor submission of responses to this RFI or the Government's use of such information. The Government reserves the right to reject, in whole or in part, any contractor's input resulting from this RFI. No contract will be awarded from this announcement. Data submitted in response to this RFI will not be returned. Information is being requested in order to make potential future requirements better for the quantum information science research community and the Government.

Deadline Details: 

Responses to the RFI are due 4:00 pm Eastern Time on 02 August 2016 


Over the past few decades many different qubit technologies have been developed including superconducting circuits, semiconductor quantum dots, trapped ions, neutral atoms, defects in solids and photons. A few of the qubit types have demonstrated high performance, near error‐ correction thresholds of fidelity. Challenging paths exist to continue to improve the performance and functionality of these qubits, which are being pursued.

This RFI seeks alternate paths wherein a different qubit technology (cross quantum technology), combined with the primary qubit type, may provide functionality that significantly improves the performance of the primary qubit type. These performance parameters include qubit lifetime, gate fidelity, qubit readout, quantum memory, ease of qubit‐qubit coupling, off‐chip quantum information transfer, classical control, and operational environment.

For example, superconducting qubits have promising qubit lifetimes, they have demonstrated high fidelity qubit gates and are amenable to many types of qubit‐qubit coupling schemes. However, challenges exist for off‐chip communications, the availability of quantum memories, and the necessity of operation at mK temperatures. Such challenges may be overcome by hybrid quantum systems that offer the possibility of introducing currently lacking quantum properties in the primary qubit type. However, such hybrid systems should not to degrade the performance of the original individual technologies. Again, taking superconducting qubits as an example, a spin ensemble has been coupled to superconducting circuits in an attempt to introduce long‐lived quantum memories and also possibly providing an interface to optical photons. However, in most realizations to‐date, the spin lifetimes in such systems are well‐ below what can be found in isolated samples and the superconducting circuitry is typically degraded due to the presence of magnetic fields and optical re‐pumping pulses.

Another frequent challenge in quantum information processing approaches is off‐chip quantum information transfer. Cross‐quantum technology systems can play a major role here by providing a link between disparate or spatially separated quantum systems. For example, mechanical resonators prepared near the quantum ground state of motion or resonant low‐loss electro‐optics could serve as a bus between quantum states of microwave and optical photons or directly between spins, superconductors, and ions. Moreover, in the classical regime, such highly efficient converters may play a role in qubit control and readout at the base temperature of a dilution refrigerator.


ARO and LPS are requesting information on cross‐technology‐systems in both the quantum and classical regimes and their application in classical information transfer, quantum information transfer, and quantum computing. Responses should articulate specifics of the physical system, the approach to construct, control, and test the system, and the technical challenges of implementation. Potential applications to quantum information science must be clearly articulated. No restriction is placed on the fabrication of the chosen approach e.g., full integration, mechanical bonding and/or modular construction. The RFI is not interested in ‘hybrid’ schemes simply consisting of a given technology and its associated control and/or readout photons e.g. superconducting qubits and microwave photons and/or trapped ions and optical photons. In this RFI, these are considered to be single qubit type systems.

Respondents are encouraged to be as succinct as possible while providing specific information that may address one or more of the following topic areas. The list of topic areas is not exhaustive or the only areas of interest.

1. Classical, highly efficient, microwave‐to‐optical conversion (and vice versa):

a. Optical delivery of superconducting/semiconducting qubit control signals
b. Superconducting/semiconducting qubit readout by conversion to optical signals

2. Quantum‐state‐transfer from microwave to optical wavelengths

a. Low noise microwave‐optical conversion at the single photon level
b. Example approaches: Rydberg atom, opto‐mechanical, spin ensemble, magnon, electro‐optic etc.

3. Hybrid qubit systems

a.Cross‐technology qubits separating memory and processing functions
b. Cross‐technology qubits for high performance readout
c. Cross‐technology qubits for high performance control
d. Multi‐mode ensemble quantum memories

Within these areas for cross‐technology quantum systems please address the following questions:

  • What are the physical qubit or quantum system combinations that you are interested in exploring?
  • What is the function of the combined system?
  • What are the compelling reasons for combining these technologies?
  • What is known about this combination in terms of experimental and theoretical results? Please provide suitable references.
  • What are the appropriate evaluation metrics for the proposed system?
  • What are the challenges associated with combining these systems?
  • What solutions are being suggested to overcome these challenges?
  • What is the timescale needed to for key feasibility demonstrations?
  • What are the resources needed?
  • Are supporting technologies readily available?

The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Research Triangle Park Division is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) in support of the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO) and the Laboratory of Physical Sciences (LPS) in seeking information on emerging concepts and approaches for cross‐quantum‐technology systems (CQTS) that may provide a path to significantly improve the performance and functionality of individual qubit types beyond approaches focused solely on the individual qubit type. These concepts and approaches combine (hybridize) qubit types to compensate for an inadequacy in the primary qubit system, significantly improving performance of the primary qubit, or which enables new functionality in the primary qubit. This includes highly efficient, low power classical information transfer between operating domains of qubits.