$50m. gift to help Technion become leader in quantum science, engineering

The $50 million contribution is being made by the Helen Diller Family Foundation of the San Francisco Bay area.

April 17, 2018 14:43
3 minute read.
The Technion

The Technion. (photo credit: Courtesy)

An American foundation has donated one of the largest single gifts to Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to support a new, state-of-the-art quantum center. The $50 million contribution is being made by the Helen Diller Family Foundation of the San Francisco Bay area.

The facility, to be named the Helen Diller Center for Quantum Science, Matter and Engineering, will strengthen the Technion’s position as a world leader in quantum science and engineering by providing the means for faculty recruitment; establishing infrastructure; funding research and development; and educating a new generation of engineers with a mastery of quantum mechanics.

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“The Technion is one of the preeminent institutions for technology in the world, and my parents thought this was an important investment for the future of Israel and humanity,” said Helen Diller’s daughter Jackie Safier, who is president of the foundation. The center, the first of its kind in Israel, she added, will help Israel secure its place in the next revolution in science and engineering.

The center will be uniquely poised to advance the basic sciences while using the principles of quantum mechanics to impact various engineering fields, and to develop applications for a wide range of industries, according to the Technion. Research conducted there will be focused on quantum computing and information processing, quantum communications, quantum sensing and detection, quantum simulations, simulators and quantum materials.

It will also will serve as a platform for collaboration between Technion scientists and engineers involved in quantum physics, nanotechnology, materials science, communications and information theory and will include researchers from the faculties of electrical engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science.

Quantum mechanics – a fundamental theory in physics that describes nature at the smallest scales of energy of atoms and subatomic particles – revolutionized science in the early part of the 20th century. Now, Technion scientists hope to employ quantum in ways that promise to shape the future. Technologies born from quantum science are expected to include totally secure computing; communications and online transactions; superior sensing technology that can be used for medical treatments and diagnoses, and for monitoring chemical, biological and nuclear materials; the development of computers with computational powers far beyond those of standard computers; and new materials with unusual electrical, optical and magnetic properties that will lead to new and innovative devices and solutions.

“Over the years, the Technion has gained renowned experience in identifying the needs of industries and opportunities for developing the Israeli economy,” said Technion president Prof. Peretz Lavie.

“In the past, this experience has been demonstrated in many fields, including space and aeronautics, microelectronics, electro-optics, and nanotechnology. This ability has allowed Technion to lead historic shifts in Israeli society and play a vital role in building Israel as the ‘Start-Up Nation’ – a globally recognized technological powerhouse.”

Prof. Gadi Eisenstein, director of the Technion’s Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, and Prof. Mordechai Segev, will be among the leaders of the center. “The world is now witnessing the second quantum revolution,” said Eisenstein, who with his team developed tiny, inexpensive atomic clocks that found their way into industry. “The immense nanotechnology capabilities and expertise developed worldwide in the past 15 years have paved the way for scientists to employ quantum science in engineering technologies that will impact society at large.

“The Technion is at the forefront of research in many areas involving quantum mechanics,” said Segev. “The Technion is where the generation of entanglement – a fundamental quantum property – with artificial atoms (“quantum dots”) was first demonstrated,” he added.

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