Defense Department Launches Center of Excellence in Advanced Quantum Sensing

On March 2, 2021, the Department of Defense (DoD), through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), launched a $7.5 million Center of Excellence in Advanced Quantum Sensing (COE-AQS) at Delaware State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The COE-AQS will stimulate research and innovation leading to the development of novel quantum sensing technologies and methodologies. The Center was awarded through the OUSD(R&E)’s HBCU and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) Research and Education Program and is administered by the Army Research Laboratory.

The COE-AQS research will focus on realizing entanglement-enhanced quantum sensing in the form of spin-squeezing in atomic clocks and magnetometers using cold atom platforms. Delaware State University and collaborative partner, Northwestern University, will lead research to further explore precision rotation sensing and accelerometry using a spin-squeezed, light pulse atom interferometer.

“Quantum information science is a recognized priority leading to the critical technologies we see today from global positioning systems to securing our nation’s sensitive infrastructures from cyber attacks,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, acting Deputy Director of the Office of Research, Technology, and Laboratories in OUSD(R&E). “Through collaborations with our academic partners, the Department continues to deliver on the modernization priority roadmap in achieving technological dominance against our adversaries.”

Complementing the Center’s research capabilities, the COE-AQS is dedicated to prioritizing quantum information science education to enable a diverse and capable science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. The COE-AQS received acknowledgement for the research, education, and scholarship opportunities made available to scholars during a congressional delegation visit from Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Tom Carper (D-DE) as well as Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE At-large). The Center will support undergraduate and graduate scholars in addition to provide internships at defense laboratories with collaborations from DoD researchers to address science and technology challenges. To foster early awareness of DoD research priorities, the Center will also offer training to K-12 students to strengthen the talent pool entering the STEM pipeline.

“DoD has a longstanding relationship with HBCUs/MSIs,” said Ms. Evelyn Kent, Director of HBCU/MSI Program in OUSD(R&E). “The resources offered through the Center will drive quantum skills development for traditionally underrepresented students and support building a diverse and inclusive quantum workforce. We look forward to the enduring impact STEM graduates will contribute to quantum science research and technology transition in quantum sensing areas.”

The Department’s investment through the Center represents the third largest grant received in Delaware State University’s history. In addition to partnering with the Army Research Laboratory, the COE-AQS will collaborate with the Naval Research Laboratory, and Harvard University to further enhance the center’s research and education objectives.

The DoD officially announced the COE-AQS award to Delaware State University on October 1, 2020, along with three other COEs under the HBCU/MSI Program, including at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and University of California, Riverside.


Click the link for more information on the DoD HBCU/MSI Program.

USD(R&E)