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Improving thermal medical imaging of the eye with a new quantum camera and developing new materials to enable “beyond 5G” wireless communications are among the goals of six projects recently supported by the Quantum Quest Seed Fund (QQSF).

Awarded by Transformative Quantum Technologies (TQT), thanks in part to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, QQSF encourages new ideas and applications for quantum technologies, supporting TQT’s mission to accelerate the development and deployment of impactful quantum devices. The fund also aims to leverage new opportunities with researchers who don’t normally work with quantum devices and encourage innovation in the field. To date, 28 projects have been awarded across the University of Waterloo, and $2.8 million in funding distributed.

Improving thermal medical imaging of the eye with a new quantum camera

Non-invasive imaging of the retina allows ophthalmologists to diagnose potential blinding diseases like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Current cameras based on classical materials have limited resolution to visualize the cellular and sub-cellular tissue structure of the eye due to their low sensitivity.

Michael Reimer, faculty member at IQC and in the electrical and computer engineering department, has received funding to develop a line scan camera based on a novel quantum material based on the results of an earlier QQSF project with a high sensitivity to enable sub-micrometre resolution when imaging the retina. With such a high level of detail, the new device will non-invasively provide images of comparable resolution and contrast to invasive procedures like histology. Reimer’s group is working in collaboration with Kostadinka Bizheva in the physics and astronomy department, and Karim Karim and Peter Levine in the electrical and computer engineering department.

Powering “beyond 5G” wireless communications and the internet of things with new quantum materials

Double junction resonant tunneling diodes (RTDs) are simple yet powerful quantum devices that enable applications such as room-temperature Terahertz (THz) and sub-THz oscillators, fast switching circuits, “beyond CMOS” integrated circuits, and photonic quantum computing.

Michael Pope, assistant professor in the chemical engineering department, in collaboration with Na Young Kim, faculty member at IQC and in the electrical and computer engineering department, plans to develop a large-scale array of double junction RTDs made of two-dimensional quantum materials deposited with atomic precision. The new devices will enable a new generation of ultrafast wireless communications by operating at THz frequencies unattainable by current technologies.

Quantum Quest Awardees

The following projects received a total of $583,000 in seed funding from cycles five and six.

Cycle 5

  • Tuning Spin-Exchange Interactions in Low-Dimensional Metal Halide Perovskites: A New Class of Semiconductor Quantum Materials
    • Pavle Radovanovic, Professor in the Department of Chemistry
  • Quantum Material Multilayer Photonic Devices and Network
    • Na Young Kim, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Novel infrared camera based on quantum sensors for biomedical applications
    • Michael Reimer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in collaboration with Kostadinka Bizheva, Professor in the Deptartment of Physics and Astronomy, and Karim Karim, Professor, and Peter Levine, Associate Professor, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Cycle 6

  • Advanced Microwave Electronics Enabling Quantum Technologies
    • Raafat Mansour, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in collaboration with Christopher Wilson, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Towards Large Area, Resonant Quantum Tunneling Diodes by Continuous Langmuir Transfer of Exfoliated 2D Materials
    • Michael Pope, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, in collaboration with Na Young Kim, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • A Reformulation of Quantum Game Theory
    • John Watrous, Professor in the School of Computer Science

See past awardees:

Demonstrated impact

Now in its third year, the QQSF has already led to new funding and breakthrough impacts like the next generation quantum sensor from IQC faculty member Michael Reimer’s research group, which has promising applications in cancer treatment and long-range imaging, and is the basis of the novel infrared camera that received funding in cycle five.

The QQSF has also broadened the quantum community at the University of Waterloo, with 14 awards—50% of funding—supporting faculty outside of IQC such as Lan Wei, a professor in the electrical and computer engineering department who is leading a project to develop cryogenic CMOS technology.

Since receiving seed funding from the QQSF, Wei has received an Early Researcher Award for the project and is enabling related work on a silicon platform led by IQC and chemistry department faculty member Jonathan Baugh, with Wei as a collaborator.

Read more about Collaborative Quantum Projects A

Source: Seed fund backs $2.8M in new quantum ideas at the University of Waterloo | Institute for Quantum Computing | University of Waterloo