CM Seminar - Scalable quantum computing with neutral atoms

05 Dec2019

Speaker: Mark Saffman, Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Time: December 5, 2019 :: 2:00PM - 3:00PM


Brimacombe 311


Quantum computing is a few decades old and is currently an area where there is great excitement, and rapid developments. One of the daunting challenges in developing a practical quantum computer is the need to scale to a very large number of qubits. Neutral atoms are one of the most promising approaches for meeting this challenge.

I will describe the current state of play and survey the optical and atomic physics underlying neutral atom qubits and computation. In the near term hybrid approaches that combine quantum and classical processing have the potential for demonstrating useful quantum speedups. I will give an example of such an approach, and its application to dark matter searches.

Bio sketch:

Mark Saffman is an experimental physicist working in the areas of atomic physics, quantum and nonlinear optics, and quantum information processing. He has made significant contributions to the physics of optical solitons, pattern formation, sources of entangled light, and quantum computing. His current research effort is  devoted to the development of neutral atom based quantum computing devices. His research team was the first to demonstrate a quantum CNOT gate between two trapped neutral atoms, and the deterministic entanglement of a pair of neutral atoms. This was done using dipole mediated interactions between highly excited Rydberg atoms. He is currently developing scalable neutral atom platforms using arrays of trapped atoms.  

He is a Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Director of the Wisconsin Quantum Institute (, and Chief Scientist for Quantum Information at ColdQuanta, Inc. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America and has been recognized with the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and a University of Wisconsin Vilas Associate Award. He also serves as an Associate Editor for Physical Review A.


  • Seminar