By GREGORY ZELLER //
The Stony Brook University scientist who came in from the cold is getting some serious chills – and this time, he’s really got something to cryo about.
Slowa Solovyov, a multi-patented, 23-year veteran of U.S. Department of Energy collaborations, is diving into the coldest environments man can create on a quest to improve quantum-level efficiencies. The longtime SBU adjunct professor of electrical engineering is flipping the switch on Next Cryo, a startup enterprise focused on reducing quantum-computing losses through the composition of new materials and the application of some truly frigid temperatures.
Trained at the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology (master’s degree in applied physics) and Ukraine’s G.V. Kurdyumov Institute for Metal Physics (PhD in solid-state physics), Solovyov is no rookie entrepreneur: In 2015, along with Brookhaven Technology Group President Paul Farrell, he launched NextSwitch, an ambitious startup focused on high-temperature superconductivity.
“High-temperature superconductivity” is slightly misleading – “high” references temperatures above 77 degrees Kelvin (roughly minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit), which is frosty on your skin but the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, a primary cryogenics coolant.
“When you operate in the quantum world, you want to reduce noise – and temperature is what makes noise,” Solovyov noted. “Temperature destroys connections between quanta, or information.”
With his new startup, Mr. Freeze will really chill out. The typical MRI machine operates around absolute zero (about minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit), but quantum computers turn things down significantly from there, operating at temperatures “about 50 times lower,” according to Solovyov.
The innovator envisions the commercialization of cutting-edge materials that not only allow quantum computers to do their thing with reduced quanta degradation, but could benefit multiple sciences where cold is hot, including “superconducting magnets, fusion reactors and other cutting-edge tech.”
Upon launch, scheduled for January 2021, Next Cryo’s basic plan is simple: materials preparation and testing at SBU’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, validation at Brookhaven National Laboratory (Solovyov is an old friend) and a series of customer pilots with “major quantum-computing companies,” according to the scientist, with on-point customer feedback eventually informing a breakthrough product.
The startup – a client of SBU’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program, along with the Brookhaven Technology Group – should have “a good idea of what the product will look like” by this time next year, Solovyov added.
“There are a lot of different solutions and approaches,” he said. “But what the product should actually look like is the goal of this customer-discovery process.”
What’s It? Next-gen R&D focused on improving super-cold supercomputing
Brought To You By: From-Russia-with-doctorates Stony Brook University adjunct Slowa Solovyov, who’s bundled up before
Status: Cooling off for a hot start in 2021