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Quantum Voices Q&A: Chengyun Hua

The Quantum Voices series is designed to share the stories of the quantum researchers and technical experts behind the Quantum Science Center’s past, present and future accomplishments. Each interview provides insights into a piece of the quantum science puzzle through the lens of this Department of Energy National Quantum Information Science Research Center and its people. 

What is your role in the Quantum Science Center, or QSC?

I am a physicist studying optical measurements and spin transport in topological materials.

How did you get involved in quantum?           

My research focus has always been energy transport in condensed matter. Spin excitation is one of the fundamental excitements in condensed matter, so it’s very natural for me to get into quantum science. 

How did you get to where you are?

I did my PhD at Caltech [California Institute of Technology] and then I applied here as a Russell Fellow and got into Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Fellow. Then, I transitioned into a full staff position. 

What are your research interests? 

My research interests mainly focus on energy transport in condensed matter using optical spectroscopy and also neutron spectroscopy. 

What techniques or instruments do you use in your work?

I do ultrafast optical characterization such as the ultrafast pump-probe technique as well as inelastic neutron scattering. 

What is your favorite thing about quantum?

Interacting with a lot of smart people.

Do you have any advice?

I would say pick a topic you are very interested in and be resilient.

What do you think the future of quantum looks like?

I think part of the future research in QIS is going to be trying to maintain the quantum coherent state as long as possible. 

The QSC, a DOE National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by ORNL, performs cutting-edge research at national laboratories, universities and industry partners to overcome key roadblocks in quantum state resilience, controllability and ultimately the scalability of quantum technologies. QSC researchers are designing materials that enable topological quantum computing; implementing new quantum sensors to characterize topological states and detect dark matter; and designing quantum algorithms and simulations to provide a greater understanding of quantum materials, chemistry, and quantum field theories. These innovations enable the QSC to accelerate information processing, explore the previously unmeasurable and better predict quantum performance across technologies. For more information, visit

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit