Better Qubits Through Material Science with Nathalie DeLeon

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In this episode we are joined by Nathalie DeLeon, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Princeton University, who is well known for her research in color centers. Also known as diamond vacancies, these materials are a really fascinating platform for quantum information science and engineering applications. In today’s episode, Nathalie shares her journey to become a professor and the winner of the Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett Award in Quantum Computing.
Key Takeaways:
[3:38] Nathalie shares how she found her way into the field of quantum technology.
[6:25] Nathalie talks about the key moment in the landscape towards being a believer in Quantum Technology.
[8:29] Nathalie talks about certain things that made her change her mind.
[12:20] Nathalie speaks about her particular entry into the science field.
[18:09] How far up the stack does Nathalie’s interest lie, and how does that inform what she has been doing down at the materials?
[22:54] Nathalie shares the story about NSF.
[25:48] What is wrong with Niobium?
[27:12]  Nathalie explains the difficulty of surface physics and surface chemistry in this domain.
[32:30] Is there a way to describe conceptually how a vacancy in a diamond can be used as a two-level system or for a cubit, or as a sensing device?
[37:03] Why is it called a color center? 
[37:59] Nathalie talks about the genesis of her paper which includes material science foundations for the quantum information process.
[42:35] Can Nathalie make any speculations based on what she learned from the review paper?
[46:54] Is it true that manipulating diamonds is really slow?
[48:28] Sebastian talks about the way they met Nathalie.
[49:29] Are there things that either educators or industry participants in this stage of quantum computing and quantum information technologies can do to help make this area work better than the other fields have in the past? 
[55:58] Sebastian and Kevin share the highlights of an amazing conversation with Nathalie DeLeon.

Mentioned in this episode:

Tweetables and Quotes:
“If you could do a quantum version of erasure conversion, you can actually get extremely high thresholds.“ — Nathalie DeLeon
“The fact that,  in some sense, fault tolerance is a phase, a transition is a quantum phase transition, right? You have a fundamentally different system before and after you turn on your error correction. .“ — Nathalie DeLeon

Creators and Guests

Sebastian Hassinger🌻
Sebastian Hassinger🌻
Business development #QuantumComputing @AWScloud Opinions mine, he/him.
Nathalie De Leon
Nathalie De Leon
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Princeton University
Omar Costa Hamido
Omar Costa Hamido
OCH is a performer, composer, and technologist, working primarily in multimedia and improvisation. His current research is on quantum computing and music composition, telematics, and multimedia. He is passionate about emerging technology, cinema, teaching, and performing new works. He earned his PhD in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at University of California, Irvine with his research project Adventures in Quantumland ( He also earned his MA in Music Theory and Composition at ESMAE-IPP Portugal with his research on the relations between music and painting. In recent years, his work has been recognized with grants and awards from MSCA, Fulbright, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Medici, Beall Center for Art+Technology, and IBM.
Better Qubits Through Material Science with Nathalie DeLeon
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