Quantum-Nano Centre opens at the University of Waterloo
The Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, the state-of-the-art new headquarters of IQC, officially opened Sept. 21 during a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 guests.
The science of the incredibly small has taken a giant leap at the University of Waterloo.
The university’s newest and most scientifically sophisticated building, the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, officially opened Sept. 21 with a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 guests and dignitaries, including Prof. Stephen Hawking.
The new building is home to the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology — two leading-edge research institutes pursuing big breakthroughs on the scale of atoms, electrons, photons and other inhabitants of the nano-scale world.
"This is a state-of-the-art research facility where scientists and students from many disciplines will work together towards the next big breakthroughs in science and technology," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor, University of Waterloo.
The science that happens in the building is expected to result in ultra-powerful quantum computers, unbreakable cryptography, nanotechnologies of unprecedented precision and many other breakthroughs — putting Waterloo at the forefront of this fast-moving field.
"I am honoured to join my colleagues to celebrate the opening of the building," said Prof. Hawking, adding that the "institution will advance our understanding of deep mysteries."
One of the namesakes of the building, Mike Lazaridis, said the research that will happen inside the building will transform Waterloo Region and the world.
"Just as the discoveries and innovations at The Bell Labs led to the companies that created Silicon Valley, so will, I predict, the discoveries and innovations of the Quantum-Nano Centre lead to the creation of companies that will lead to Waterloo Region becoming known as The Quantum Valley," said Lazaridis, whose generous donation of more than $100 million to the project has supported the centre's creation.
IQC Executive Director Raymond Laflamme told the at the grand opening that “the remarkable facility will give Waterloo scientists the cutting-edge tools and collaborative environment needed to make revolutionary breakthroughs in quantum information and nanotechnology that will change the ways we work, communicate, play and live."
To enable research at nano scale (billionths of a metre), the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre has been constructed to the most stringent scientific standards to inhibit vibration, temperature fluctuations and electromagnetic radiation.
In parts of the building a metre-thick "waffle-slab" concrete floor provides incredible strength and stability to the structure. The 6,700-square-foot cleanroom/fabrication facility, which will be shared between IQC and WIN, is constructed on a separate foundation from the rest of the building atop deeply embedded shock-absorbing material. Even if the main building vibrates a little from the typical bustle around a university campus, the cleanroom won’t budge by more than a micrometer (a fraction of the width of a human hair).
"Quantum devices of the future will be built with nano materials, and will be enabled by nanotechnology, making nanotechnology the bridge to quantum," said Arthur Carty, Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.
"Clearly this is an incredible opportunity for collaboration that has the potential to change our world."
Scientifically and aesthetically, the building promises to become a magnet that will attract many of the world's top minds to Waterloo, further enhancing the university's long-standing reputation as an international hub of research and innovation.
The Institute for Quantum Computing will be sharing the excitement with the community by hosting a Public Open House on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The day will feature public lectures, special events and tours, and a quantum-themed concert by science broadcaster and journalist Jay Ingram and his rock band, Jay Ingram & The Qubits. On Sunday, Sept. 30, the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony will present an interactive, quantum-themed concert, Quantum: Music at the Frontier of Science.