Australia's first hub for nanoscience and quantum tech opened yesterday at the University of Sydney.

The $150m building allows design, fabrication and testing of devices - all under one roof.

Professor David Reilly and Associate Professor Michael Biercuk, both Chief Investigators from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, will be hard at work on flagship projects in this building.

Chief Investigator Reilly is building quantum devices while Chief Investigator Biercuk runs quantum simulations.

Microsoft supports quantum effort

International and domestic leaders in science and industry visited Sydney for the launch with an opening address from the Australian Academy of Science's President Andrew Holmes AM.

Senior executives from Microsoft also attended. 

Speaking to ABC 7.30 report last night, Microsoft head of research Professor Norman Whitaker said the research was similar to other "moonshot" ideas, such as the Manhattan Project or the moon landing which stimulated great breakthroughs in science and technology. 

Chief Investigator Reilly said, "Building a quantum computer is a daunting challenge; something that will only be realised in partnership with the world's biggest technology companies and we've been fortunate to partner with Microsoft".

In a statement from the Microsoft headquarters, Station Q director Michael Freedman said: "We have made a worldwide search for the most dynamic and innovative collaborators. In David Reilly and his team, we have found such a partner."

Using diamonds to identify early stage cancers

The potential of research done in the new hub stretches from cybersecurity and computing to medicine and health. 

In 2015, Chief Investigator Reilly led research which devised a way to use diamonds to identify cancerous tumours before they become life threatening (as represented in the video below). 

The research team knew nano diamonds were of interest for delivering drugs during chemotherapy because they are largely non-toxic and non-reactive.

Chief Investigator Reilly said, “We thought we could build on these non-toxic properties realising that diamonds have magnetic characteristics enabling them to act as beacons in MRIs. We effectively turned a pharmaceutical problem into a physics problem.”

For more information, see this link

Interviews, video and graphics of the hub can be found in this Sydney Morning Herald feature and on ABC online.

Want to find out more about the weird world of quantum physics? Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media. To ask a question use the #AskEQuS hashtag or send us a message. 

Get regular updates on quantum physics and the people behind the research

Subscribe

Major funding support

Australian Research Council Logo