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February 3, 2020

Johns Hopkins APL Joins New Alliance to Accelerate Maryland’s Leadership in Quantum Science

quantum computing simulations

APL’s low-temperature test bed lab is an experimental facility for quantum computing simulations. Equipped with a dilution refrigerator with a low-temperature radio frequency system and dozens of electronic instruments and components, this facility is capable of controlling and measuring qubits for quantum computing simulations and characterizing superconducting quantum devices with temperatures of about 8 millikelvins above absolute zero and a measurement and control of 1–10 gigahertz.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, has joined a consortium of scientists and engineers from academia, national laboratories and industry to form the Maryland Quantum Alliance, a group that will drive quantum science discovery and innovation, develop pioneering quantum technologies and train the quantum workforce of tomorrow for Maryland, the region and the nation.

The announcement from the floor of the Maryland House of Delegates on Jan. 31 comes at a pivotal time when quantum research is expanding beyond physics into materials science, engineering, computer science and chemistry. Scientists across these disciplines are finding ways to exploit quantum physics to build powerful computers, develop secure communication networks and improve sensing capabilities.

APL’s work in quantum computing goes back decades. In the late 1980s, the Laboratory began investigating quantum entanglement, a topic at the heart of the disparity between classical and quantum physics. APL researchers conducted some of the initial demonstrations of quantum key distribution in the mid-1990s, and in 1996 established a fully operational system for quantum cryptography based on the transmission of single photons in free space under daylight conditions.

“In the ensuing years we’ve expanded on this early theoretical work and built a new experimental base in superconducting quantum computing and defect-based quantum sensors,” says Dave Clader, a theoretical physicist in APL’s Research and Exploratory Development Department. “Now, we are actively investigating novel applications of quantum systems, ranging from high-precision sensing to using quantum computers to solve outstanding challenges for our sponsors. Our teams have focused on characterizing, understanding and mitigating noise in quantum systems in order to make the systems more practical and powerful.”

In the Maryland Quantum Alliance, government and academic researchers will look for new ways to work with companies to support progress on quantum technology research and enable its transition into the marketplace.

Along with APL, the alliance will include the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Morgan State University; George Mason University; CCDC Army Research Laboratory; The MITRE Corporation; Northrop Grumman; Lockheed Martin; IonQ; and Booz Allen Hamilton.

“APL sits at the intersection of academia, government and industry, and the Maryland Quantum Alliance is the ideal vehicle to integrate these three sectors for real impact in the technical community,” said Joan Hoffmann, the program manager for APL’s Alternative Computing Paradigms and a member of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Applications of Quantum Technologies.

Read more about APL’s recent work in quantum computing:

Tough Errors Are No Match for APL Team Exploring Quantum Science

Old Method Leads to New Quantum Processing Possibilities

Cool Tool Could Enable Quantum Computers to Tackle More Complex Applications

APL Physicist Appointed to Defense Science Board Quantum Technologies Task Force

Media contact: Paulette Campbell, 240-228-6792,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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