Renu Tripathi, a professor of physics and engineering at Delaware State University (DSU), has been named the inaugural recipient of the IBM-SPIE HBCU Faculty Accelerator Award in Quantum Optics and Photonics. The announcement was made 1 August, during the opening plenary event at SPIE Optics + Photonics.
The $100,000 annual award, presented jointly by the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, supports and promotes research and education in quantum optics and photonics within IBM-HBCU Quantum Center member institutions, currently 23 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including DSU. The IBM-SPIE agreement stipulates a joint annual award year through 2025, with each organization providing $50,000 per year for a shared total of $500,000 over five years.
"By supporting quantum research programs and education at HBCUs, we hope to contribute to a truly diverse scientific and engineering community," said SPIE President David Andrews. "Quantum is a rapidly growing area that is already proving critical to technological innovation. We want to make sure that the field is open, accessible, and inclusive for the current and future generations of optics and photonics students, and this new program will contribute to delivering that objective."
Tripathi's winning proposal seeks to demonstrate "a quantum gyroscope with a high rotation sensitivity, suitable for inertial navigation applications." She will also be using the award to develop quantum science education curricula and teaching practices at DSU, including providing hands-on experience and training to DSU students through summer research programs and workshops.
"The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center was established to build an ecosystem for traditionally underrepresented students and professionals in the emerging field of quantum computing," said Academic Alliance Lead, Partner Ecosystem at IBM Quantum Dr. Kayla Lee. "By extension, this joint award is an investment in the strengthening of research and career opportunities at HBCUs."
"Receiving this prestigious inaugural award from IBM and SPIE will highlight and bring national prominence to our distinctive quantum science research program at Delaware State University," said Tripathi. "It also allows us to broaden the scope of quantum-sensing research, education, and training at the university so that both undergraduate and graduate students will have direct experiential educational exposure to advancements in quantum science and technologies."
An SPIE Fellow, Tripathi has given several invited talks at SPIE conferences, has served as an organizing committee member for Optical and Quantum Sensing and Precision Metrology at SPIE Photonic West since 2019; participated as a panel member on ‘Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Sciences & Engineering' at SPIE Optics + Photonics in 2016; and was featured in the 2010 SPIE Women in Optics Planner. In addition, she helped found the SPIE Student Chapter at DSU, and is an active mentor to students there.
For more on the IBM-SPIE HBCU Faculty Accelerator Award in Quantum Optics and Photonics — including the next award cycle — please visit our dedicated webpage.