B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation the Hon. Brenda Bailey visited UBC’s Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (UBC Blusson QMI) on June 5, 2024 for a tour and opening ceremony of a new research and training centre aimed at advancing quantum science and technology.

Completed in May 2024, the Quantum Materials Electron Microscopy Centre (QMEMC) was realized by a $4.9 million investment by the Government of British Columbia through the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) in 2017. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) also supported QMEMC with $4.9 million.

Image (left to right): Michael Rosenblatt, Director of NQS, ISED; Andrea Damascelli, Scientific Director, UBC Blusson QMI; the Hon. Brenda Bailey, Minister for B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, B.C. Government; Gail Murphy, VPRI, UBC; Pinder Dosanjh, Facilities Director and Paola Baca, Managing Director, UBC Blusson QMI.

QMEMC provides a multi-user electron microscopy facility with the highest spatial resolution and highest energy resolution of its kind in Canada. This multi-phase project will allow researchers to image samples with high magnification, resolve individual atoms, determine their elemental species, and characterize both their chemical and electrical states.

UBC Vice-President of Research and Innovation Gail Murphy, UBC Blusson QMI Scientific Director Andrea Damascelli, Managing Director Paola Baca and Facilities Director Pinder Dosanjh welcomed Minister Bailey to the Institute.

The tour began with a stop at Blusson QMI’s Quantum Science and Technology Laboratory led by UBC Blusson QMI Investigator Joseph Salfi, an expert in quantum computing hardware and simulators.

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 B.C. for training.

Image: Students from the Hallas Group welcome Minister Bailey to their lab.

Next, the group visited the Quantum Materials Design and Discovery Lab led by Blusson QMI Investigator Alannah Hallas, who is a crystal growth expert and the recipient of the 2023 UBC Killam Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Thanks to $5.8 million in investments by CFI and BCKDF announced in March 2024, Hallas is leading the development of a world-class crystal growth facility at UBC Blusson QMI. The new facility complements the characterization tools and theoretical expertise that already exist at the Institute, unlocking an end-to-end scientific workflow from designing to the synthesis of new quantum materials that have remained out of reach.

Three of the five furnaces in the facility will be the first of their kind in the country, including Canada’s first high pressure floating zone furnace. Another high pressure furnace in the facility, known as an anvil press, will be for the first time, dedicated to quantum materials discovery rather than geoscience.

Students from the Hallas group warmly welcomed Minister Bailey to their lab, presenting the Minister with a specially prepared lab coat for the visit. They showcased key highlights of their research and provided an overview of the training programs and facilities available at UBC Blusson QMI.

Image: Minister Bailey launches the QMEMC at an opening ceremony on June 5, 2024.

Next, the Minister visited Ada, Canada’s first self-driving lab to fast-track the discovery of clean energy materials located at UBC Blusson QMI’s Berliguette Lab. Self-driving labs like Ada think for and work by themselves, combining automation with machine learning to plan, conduct and analyze experiments autonomously.

The tour concluded with a visit to UBC Blusson QMI’s angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) facility and the Advanced Nanofabrication Facility (ANF). The ANF serves as a premier device manufacturing hub, uniting academia, industry, and government to bolster B.C.’s standing in next-generation devices and technologies.

UBC Blusson QMI was awarded $3.2 million in funding to ramp up partnerships with tech companies through its ANF, quantum device measurement laboratory, and computational facilities in a project with a total value of $8.2 million through PacifiCan. The investment expands ANF’s fabrication and computing capabilities, enabling Blusson QMI to launch a new quantum foundry and develop a business scale-up strategy for industry partnerships.

UBC’s Blusson QMI is a world-class research and training centre pushing the boundaries of quantum materials as the enabling building blocks for future quantum technologies – while training the professionals who will translate this intellectual capital into economic benefits for Canada.

Image: Minister Bailey (center) pictured with Andrea Damascelli, George Sawatzky (Founding Director of Blusson QMI), Steve Dierker (QMEMC Lead) and Pinder Dosanjh.

Image (left to right): Sarah Burke, Investigator; Andrea Damascelli, Scientific Director; Michael Rosenblatt, Director of NQS, ISED; Rafal Janik, COO, Xanadu; Lisa Lambert, CEO, QIC; Christian Sarra-Bournet, Executive Director, Université de Sherbrooke; James Day, Senior Scientist; Richard Harris, Director of Gate Model Products, D-Wave; Alexander Whiticar, Senior Experimental Physicist, D-Wave; Pinder Dosanjh, Facilities Director; Paola Baca, Managing Director; and Tracy Xu, Research Operations Facilitator, UBC Blusson QMI.