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May 3, 2024 • By Veronica Lingo

The quantum industry is growing quickly both locally and nationally as new applications for quantum technology expand, and CU Physics continues to meet the challenges and opportunities for our students through innovative programs like Quantum Scholars.

On April 12, a cohort of Quantum Scholars toured KMLabs, an industry leader in ultrafast laser and X-ray science and an Affiliate of the Quantum Scholars program. KMLabs was founded by Physics Professors and JILA Fellows Henry Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane and began with technologies that were developed at their labs in JILA.

“KMLabs is one of many companies in Boulder and Colorado that is developing unique new quantum metrologies for next-generation nano-devices,” Kapteyn said. “KMLabs was happy to host the Quantum Scholars tour so that students can see how quantum technologies enable real-world applications.”

The students visited with Professors Kapteyn and Murnane—along with other leaders at KMLabs—to learn more about the company and to get a tour of the facilities and labs.

“Understanding the many career pathways that physics training enables is very valuable information," Murnane said. “The Quantum Scholars program is a wonderful resource that CU undergraduates can avail of to broaden their career choices.”

When entering the optics tables and research area, every student had to get dolled-up in cleanroom gear: booties, hair nets, and lab coats.

“Most students had never been inside of a cleanroom, so this was special,” Physics Graduate Student and Quantum Scholars Coordinator Sasha Novack said. “Viewing the optics tables and asking questions was also a high point, as students’ curiosities really went wild, and their questions were almost unending.”

Not only did the students tour the labs where technologies were developed, they learned more about the business and administrative aspects of running a company like KMLabs. Preparing for a career in industry means employing lots of different problem-solving skills, and a degree in physics or engineering means these students are uniquely positioned to solve many kinds of problems.

“We greatly appreciate that the leadership and researchers at KM Labs suspended their work to welcome the quantum scholars into their workspace,” Professor Michael Ritzwoller said. “This is the first time the program brought the scholars into a working quantum company. The ability to witness quantum research in an industrial setting is a mind-expanding experience for the quantum scholars, which will help guide their future professional development.”



Filed under: Teaching Lab

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