Chunhui Du Awarded DOE Grant for Quantum Sensing Research

March 29, 2024

Chunhui (Rita) Du has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Energy for her research into quantum sensing. The $652,965 grant, for “Nanoscale Quantum Sensing and Imaging of Topological Magnets,” will provide funding for the next three years.

Du, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, studies quantum materials at very small scales. This project will leverage state-of-the-art quantum sensing and imaging techniques developed in her lab to study the properties of topological magnets at the nanoscale — and create a quantum microscopy platform, which she hopes will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the fundamental properties of these materials, as dictated by quantum mechanics.

“Topological magnets serve as a novel, cutting-edge material system, which is promising for developing next-generation, transformative quantum information technologies,” says Du. 

“Currently, magnetic and charge properties of topological materials are mainly characterized by bulk measurements,” she explains. But, by using color-centers in diamonds, she plans to leverage cutting-edge quantum sensing techniques, creating ultra-sensitive quantum spin sensors.

These diamond color-centers have been shown to vastly outperform traditional methods, and Du hopes that by demonstrating their operation under previously unexplored experimental conditions, their use can be applied to other material systems, expediting progress toward future quantum sciences and technologies.

“The project has the potential to make important contributions to the burgeoning field of quantum materials,” says Du, “and to significantly promote the role of topological magnets in developing next-generation, transformative information technologies.”

Du is also the recipient of Sloan Fellowship, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award, U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Award, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Early Career Scientist Prize.


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Written by Selena Langner

Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston