Quantum Science Group

From basic quantum physics to quantum technology
We focus on addressing the most challenging problems in our understanding of quantum physics and leveraging these insights to build new technologies.

Our activities range from fundamental physics and quantum information science through to technology development and incorporate both atomic and condensed matter systems.

Our scientific pursuits are complemented by deep industry engagement and entrepreneurial activities.

The Quantum Science Group at Sydney hosts a global research node of the Microsoft Station Q network (led by Prof. Reilly) and has led to the formation of Australia’s first venture-capital backed quantum-tech start-up, Q-CTRL (founded and led by Prof. Biercuk).

Our aims

The field of quantum science aims to push the boundaries of our understanding of quantum mechanics and to develop powerful new technologies based on the unique properties of quantum systems.

Our group undertakes experimental and theoretical research in quantum science that addresses both aims. We engineer and manipulate complex quantum systems and explore solutions at both the hardware and software levels. We develop a fundamental understanding of quantum systems by incorporating insights from quantum computing, quantum error correction, and all other aspects of quantum information science.

At this time, a variety of technology platforms have demonstrated quantum coherent phenomena. Our experimental research efforts focus on two proven systems: spins in semiconductors and trapped atomic ions. These efforts, while distinct, share complementary control techniques and are unified by platform-independent theoretical research in support of the group’s broad interests in quantum science.

Our theoretical research tackles the `big questions' in quantum science. Our research program in Quantum Information Theory explores the full spectrum of questions from the foundational, such as 'How does complex behaviour emerge from simple quantum systems?' and 'Is there a physical reality that explains the strange quantum properties like Bell nonlocality?', to the practical, including 'How can we harness the exotic properties of quantum physics, such as topological quantum phases and quantum error correcting codes,  to design new technologies like quantum computers?'.  

Our work is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, and high-profile international research programs in Quantum Information Science sponsored by the US Army Research Office, IARPA, and other domestic and international defence agencies.

Our research

The research program we have built represents a unique strength of the Quantum Science group at Sydney: a highly-integrated effort of leading researchers in both quantum optical/atomic physics and condensed-matter physics, theory and experiment. Below we detail some of the main projects being undertaken in our group.

What exotic properties of quantum mechanics give quantum computers their power? How do we scale up that weirdness from the size of an atom to the size of a mainframe? Our theory team led by  Professor Stephen BartlettProfessor Andrew DohertyDr Arne Grimsmo, and Dr Isaac Kim and exploits the latest results from quantum materials, the mathematics of topology, machine learning and even string theory to design the best quantum architectures for tomorrow's supercomputers. 

Controlling small ensembles of atomic ions in vacuum allows Professor Michael Biercuk’s team to learn how to control and build new technologies powered by quantum coherence. The team focuses on adapting concepts from control engineering for the manipulation of quantum devices and the development of new classes of quantum simulators for chemistry and materials science.

The Sydney Quantum Laboratory is one of just three experimental facilities worldwide where Microsoft is developing a quantum machine based on topological qubits. Our partnership with Microsoft Corporation is allowing Professor David Reilly’s team to transform fundamental research into commercial-scale quantum computation. Their focus is on the interface between classical and quantum systems, which will be critical for quantum machines to be scaled up to useful devices.

Professor David Reilly’s quantum nanoscience team is developing technology to improve targeted delivery of drugs and improved magnetic resonance imaging. The delivery of industrial nanoscale diamonds can be used to ‘light up’ early-stage tumours in non-toxic and non-invasive MRI scans. The research has led to collaboration with Harvard University to further develop the technology.

The Quantum Science group at is part of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems. EQuS is building sophisticated machines that harness the quantum world for practical applications. Through EQuS we have strong collaboration with teams at the Australian National University, Macquarie University, University of Queensland and University of Western Australia, along with a host of international partners.

Q-CTRL is the first venture-capital backed quantum technology company to be spun-out from the University of Sydney. Led by CEO Professor Michael Biercuk, Q-Ctrl is taking research on quantum control out of the laboratory and developing commercial software that can be used to reduce errors in quantum systems.

Understanding the properties of optically active atoms in crystals allow Dr John Bartholomew's team to design interfaces between light and matter to connect qubits through optical networks. The study of materials at the atomic scale provides the knowledge for the team to engineer on-chip quantum connections between light, electronics, and atoms as a basis for a quantum internet

The Sydney Quantum Academy, established in 2019, is a partnership between The University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University, sponsored by the New South Wales government. The SQA’s overarching goal is to establish an ecosystem for education, community and industry engagement, and innovation in quantum science and technology. Amongst other things, the SQA offers a PhD Experience program in quantum science, prestigious PhD and postdoctoral scholarships, and hosts international visitors.

Our research leaders


For information about opportunities to work or collaborate with us, please contact us.

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Dinethri Aluwihare

EQUS Node Administrator
  • Sydney Nanoscience Hub A31, room 4025