Andrew Cleland

John A. MacLean Sr. Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise; Director, Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility

Cleland Group


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    Eckhardt Research Center
    Room 235
    5640 South Ellis Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60637

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    Mary Pat McCullough


Cleland specializes in quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum sensors, all of which depend upon harnessing the peculiar properties of quantum mechanics—the physics that dominates the atomic world and has recently been shown to apply to macroscopic mechanical objects as well as electrical circuits.

Cleland led the team that built the first quantum machine — a human-made gadget with motion that can only be described with the laws of quantum mechanics. The feat that earned Cleland's team “Breakthrough of the Year 2010” honors from Science magazine. The same work was named a top ten discovery of 2010 by Physics World, which also listed a related project of Cleland’s as a top ten discovery of 2011.

Cleland has been developing a quantum computer based on superconducting quantum circuits. Such a computer would be able to process many complete sets of input data at the same time, far exceeding the parallel processing capabilities of the classic computers now in use.

His quantum communication efforts are aimed at using quantum mechanical principles to build a device enabling quantum-secure communication with light. Such a system would be unbreakable, even by a quantum computer. A quantum memory system for secure long-term data storage is a likely spinoff of Cleland’s quantum communications work.

Cleland’s third area of research—quantum sensing—provides a means to detect and quantify very weak forces and fields. These include magnetic signals from the core of a single atomic nucleus, which forms the basis of magnetic resonance imaging.

Among Cleland’s collaborators in quantum communication and quantum sensing is David Awschalom, formerly of UCSB and the institute’s newly arrived Liew Family Professor in Spintronics and Quantum Information.


Cleland is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society. He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics in 1983, and his PhD in physics in 1991, both from the University of California, Berkeley. He then conducted research at the Centre d’Etudes-Orme des Merisiers in Saclay, France, and later at the California Institute of Technology, before joining the UCSB faculty.

To download a copy of Professor Cleland's most updated biography, please click here.

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