SQMS Center

Our story

Advancing quantum science and technology

In Dec. 2018, the 115th United States Congress rallied around quantum information science (QIS) with a strong bipartisan vote on the National Quantum Initiative Act, which supported the creation of five national QIS research centers within the Department of Energy National Laboratory system. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory led the development of a proposal for the SQMS Center, which was selected for funding at $115 million over five years in August of 2020.

Together with our core partners, we built our proposal on key areas of science and technology strengths and collaborative efforts, such as the development of superconducting materials and devices for next-generation quantum computers. By using superconductors cooled near absolute zero, we create environments where microwave photons can have long lifetimes and are protected from external perturbations. These conditions make it possible to generate quantum states, manipulate them and read them out. With highly coherent superconducting qubits, more complex operations are possible.

Our mission is to develop beyond-the-state-of-the-art quantum computers and sensors applying technologies developed for the world’s most advanced particle accelerators.

Fermilab quantum efforts were rooted in the successful superconducting radio frequency (SRF) research program, which led the field for a decade, pioneering new methods to enhance cavity quality factors well beyond the state of the art. The SQMS Center was built on a powerful three-pillar foundation:

  • Demonstration of world-record cavity lifetimes of two seconds in quantum regime
  • The ability to scale up to large and complex cryogenics machines
  • Fermilab’s legacy of answering fundamental physics questions

Launched during the historic COVID-19 pandemic, SQMS researchers overcame wide-ranging obstacles, from supply chain issues to remote work challenges. Despite these complications, our scientists persevered, united by the exciting and ambitious goal of building the world’s most powerful quantum computing and sensing facilities, the first to be built and operated by Fermilab.

Since our inception, SQMS has grown to include 24 partner institutions and more than 400 center members. Our partners are located both across the United States and around the globe.

SQMS by the numbers


Member institutions




Students and postdocs


Square feet of facility space


Experiments supported