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    Quantum Research




The beginning of research into Quantum Information Science (QIS) can be traced to theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman, Ph.D. In 1982 he proposed that computers that take advantage of quantum mechanical principles may have certain advantages over classical computers. Since then, researchers have proposed or demonstrated various methods of using quantum information to achieve results that cannot be obtained with classical physics. One of the most striking proposals is the quantum computer itself.
NRL has been conducting fundamental research in quantum for nearly 30 years in the key areas of positioning, navigation and timing, computing, sensing, and algorithms. Perhaps the most visible recent announcement was the 2015 receipt of a three-year, $45 million award funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s Applied Research for the Advancement of S&T Priorities, or ARAP, program. The ARAP award for NRL with ARL and AFRL provided funding to develop the first U.S prototype of a scalable quantum network with memory.



QIS builds on quantum mechanics and information theory to explore the fundamental limits for computation, communication, and measurement. Advantages and protocols for measuring signals with quantum systems, i.e., quantum sensing, and novel solutions for quantum computing and quantum networking are topics investigated in QIS.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) — as well as the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) actively support basic and applied research in QIS and related technology with a focus on national security applications such as precision navigation, precision timing, and secure quantum networks.
In March 2020, in accordance with the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 220, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) designated NRL as the Department of the Navy’s Quantum Information Science Research Center, authorized to engage with appropriate public and private sector organizations, including academic organizations, to enhance and accelerate the research, development, and deployment of quantum information sciences and quantum information science-enabled technologies and systems.

National Goals 

The United States has made American leadership in QIS a critical priority for ensuring our Nation’s long-term economic prosperity and national security. Harnessing the novel properties of quantum physics has the potential to yield transformative new technologies, such as quantum computers, quantum sensors, and quantum networks. 

As laid out in a report by the National Science and Technology Council  “A National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science," the national strategy for ensuring continued leadership in QIS recruitment efforts that span across six policy areas. These  include science, workforce, infrastructure, industry, economic and national security, and international cooperation.


With input from the QIS R&D community, the National Quantum Coordination Office identified eight "Quantum Frontier" areas of focus:
  • Expanding Opportunities for Quantum Technologies to Benefit Society
  • Building the Discipline of Quantum Engineering
  • Targeting Materials Science for Quantum Technologies
  • Exploring Quantum Mechanics through Quantum Simulations
  • Harnessing Quantum Information Technology for Precision Measurements
  • Generating and Distributing Quantum Entanglement for New Applications
  • Characterizing and Mitigating Quantum Errors
  • Understanding the Universe through Quantum Information

News Releases 



  • Quantum Navy Series - “Quantum Navy” introduces viewers to the history of quantum, highlights NRL’s key role in the nation’s quantum initiative, and previews the future of quantum and what it means for the Navy.

Additional Resources

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