British Columbia Premier David Eby visited UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (Blusson QMI) on July 24 to tour the state-of-the-art research facilities and hear about the Institute’s training, research and technology development programs.

UBC Vice-President of Research and Innovation Gail Murphy, Dean of Science Meigan Aronson, and Blusson QMI Scientific Director Andrea Damascelli greeted and welcomed the Premier to the Institute.

Image (left to right): Andrea Damascelli, Scientific Director, Blusson QMI; Pinder Dosanjh, Operations Manager, Blusson QMI; Premier David Eby, BC Government; Gail Murphy, Vice-President Research & Innovations, UBC; Meigan Aronson, Dean of Science, UBC.

The tour began with a stop at Blusson QMI’s Quantum Science and Technology Laboratory, which is led by Assistant Professor Joseph Salfi who is an expert in the physical implementation of quantum computers and quantum simulators. The Premier was briefed on the Institute’s world-leading quantum computing research and industry partnerships.

In April 2023, Salfi was awarded $4.9 million to lead a pan-Canadian consortium with the Universite de Sherbrooke, the University of Waterloo, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, and McGill University to advance quantum computation in Canada via the design, fabrication, and investigation of a new quantum processor, the key technological component of a quantum computer. The consortium is anticipated to attract a number of highly qualified research personnel, including students and postdoctoral fellows, to BC for training.

Next, the group visited the Quantum Materials Design Lab, which is led by Assistant Professor Alannah Hallas – a crystal growth expert and a 2023 UBC Killam Prize winner for excellence in teaching.

Hallas and her students showcased highlights of their research and expanded on the critical impacts of quantum materials discovery and design for building future quantum technologies and the potential for such R&D to create multi-million-dollar industries and create jobs.

Image (right to left): Alannah Hallas (Investigator, Blusson QMI), Premier David Eby (BC Government), Dongjoon Song (Research Scientist, Blusson QMI), and undergraduate co-op students Morgan Brand (behind) and Christine Thrinh (front).

As the head of the Quantum Materials Design Lab, which is still in the development stage, Hallas has crafted an ambitious plan to develop high-pressure synthesis capabilities, including a high-pressure image furnace apparatus that will be the first of its kind in Canada.

After engaging with Hallas and her students, the tour stopped by the Berlinguette Lab where researchers build reactors that convert CO2 into useful products, to drive nuclear fusion at low temperatures and electrify the fuels, chemicals and cement industries.

Stops that followed included the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) lab and the angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) facility, which are used to study and fine-tune quantum materials for applications in high-tech industries.

The tour concluded with a visit to Blusson QMI’s Advanced Nanofabrication Facility (ANF) and its recently upgraded cleanrooms. The Premier heard about ANF’s partnerships with industry users and companies who utilize the facility and the expertise of its research scientists for tech support, hands-on training for their staff and device development.

Since its inception in 2010, Blusson QMI has been recognized for world-class research reflected by high-impact publication metrics, major national and international awards, and partnerships with the world’s leading universities and research institutes.

The Institute formally became UBC’s first Global Research Excellence Institute in July 2016. This followed the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) award in July 2015 of $66.5M over seven years to the Institute for “Quantum Materials and Future Technologies.”

Blusson QMI fosters the discovery, understanding, and control of quantum materials and related novel materials and devices while training the professionals who will translate this intellectual capital into economic benefits for Canada and transfer the discoveries to industry to create next-generation technologies.

Learn more about Blusson QMI here