112 Hardware Heroes Changing Quantum Tech — Part 2: Specialists 15–28


It’s about that time of the week again for another installment of TQD’s latest listicle on hardware specialists in the quantum tech industry. Here are the people from 15–28.

*All data correct as of late September 2021

15. John Guthrie: Physicist, ColdQuanta


An atomic, molecular, and optical Physicist at ColdQuanta currently working on atom interferometry and quantum memory projects, John Guthrie obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from Colorado State University where he experimentally researched ultracold neutral plasmas, specifically measuring the electron-ion collision rate under various plasma magnetizations and Coulomb couplings.

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16. Jonathan Gilbert: Quantum Physicist, ColdQuanta


At present part of a team working on the development of a scalable neutral atom quantum computer, Jonathan Gilbert is a Quantum Physicist at ColdQuanta whose primary research experience is in the field of laser cooling and trapping atoms.

Gilbert has experience working on the experimental and theoretical implementation of a novel laser cooling technique, as well as on experimental and theoretical studies of light propagation in optically dense ultracold gases, including studies of the time-dependence of the opacity and birefringence of the gas.

Gilbert received his Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular Physics from Colorado State University.

17. Joseph Shaeffer: Engineering Technician, ColdQuanta


Joseph Shaeffer is an Engineering Technician at ColdQuanta with over a decade’s worth of experience in the optics and photonics industry.

Currently, Shaeffer is manipulating and manifesting small-scale, delicate scientific instruments and systems, this includes the anodic bonding of glass vacuum cells and components, ultra-high vacuum instrument assembly as well as the assembly, bonding, testing and alignment of complex optomechanical systems to be implemented into magneto-optical traps.

He works closely with the ColdQuanta team of design engineers and physicists with the goal of providing creative solutions towards the improvement of tooling design and manufacturing processes.

18. Keshav Thirumalai: Physicist, ColdQuanta


Based in the UK, Keshav Thirumalai is a Physicist at ColdQuanta where he is a Technical Lead for the High-BIAS2 project, developing an ultra-cold atom quantum gyroscope to be tested in flight.

Having just finished his Ph.D. research recently in experimental quantum computing, demonstrating high fidelity entanglement between trapped ions of different species, and other techniques necessary for tomorrow’s scalable quantum computing architecture, Thirumalai is interested in turning cutting-edge research into practical commercial applications.

Thirumalai obtained his Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular Physics from the University of Oxford.

19. Matthew Gillette: Opto-Mechanical Engineer, ColdQuanta


Matthew Gillette is a results-oriented Opto-Mechanical Engineer at ColdQuanta with more than five years’ experience as an optical engineer.

Experienced in the design, test, and manufacture of highly sensitive and ruggedized optical equipment, Gillette has a gift for quickly mastering new technology. A versatile engineer with project management experience, excellent communication skills and a team-oriented attitude, at ColdQuanta he is working on Solidworks and Zemax design of optical-based quantum computers.

Gillette has an MS in Physics from Miami University.

20. Seth Caliga: Senior Physicist, ColdQuanta


Co-Leader of Quantum Positioning Systems and Quantum Signal Processing groups at ColdQuanta, Seth Caliga is a Senior Physicist at the Boulder, Colorado-based company.

With a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Colorado Boulder, prior to ColdQuanta Caliga spent nearly a decade as an Undergraduate, Professional and Graduate Research Assistant at JILA/University of Colorado Boulder, researching the construction of an atom-chip based apparatus to demonstrate an ultracold atom interferometer for inertial sensing, modelling and putting into action multi-layer silicon and glass atom chip with lithographically patterned conductors for generation of a tightly confining magnetic surface trap and conducting research in the field of atomtronics, as well as a stint as a Research Scientist at SRI International.

21. Shane Verploegh: RF Engineer in R&D, ColdQuanta


In the role since June of this year, at ColdQuanta Shane Verploegh is an RF Engineer involved in R&D.

A recent engineering graduate with a Ph.D. in Applied Electromagnetics focused on RF engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, Verploegh’s Ph.D. work was centred around mm-Wave (W-band specific) transmit chain architecture, fabrication, and analysis with an emphasis on MMIC power amplifier design in novel Gallium Nitride (GaN) processes. Currently, he is interested in the application of cold atom technology to the RF domain as quantum sensing modalities and building whole system receives architectures.

22. Stetson Roof: Physicist, ColdQuanta


Stetson Roof is a Physicist at ColdQuanta who manages projects focused on generating compact, transportable ultracold atomic sensors.

Before his employment at ColdQuanta, Roof was a Postdoctoral Researcher at North Carolina State University managing graduate students in their pursuit of a Ph.D. while researching the hydrodynamic and thermodynamic properties of ultracold degenerate Fermi gases.

Roof received a Ph.D. in Physics from Old Dominion University.

23. Thomas Noel: Director of Quantum Computing, ColdQuanta


Thomas Noel is Director of Quantum Computing at ColdQuanta, leading the company’s effort to build a cold atom quantum computer. As PI on a ColdQuanta-led multi-institution collaboration of industrial, academic, and national lab partners under the DARPA ONISQ program, Noel looks to use cold atom quantum computers to outperform classical approaches on real-world problems.

Prior to this position, Noel was a Group Leader and Quantum Information Systems Lead Physicist at the company and a Test Engineer at Ball Aerospace, assisting researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory by developing novel high-energy-laser metrology systems dedicated to increasing understanding of laser-material interactions.

Before that, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Assistant pushing forward lab capabilities toward demonstration of long-range ion-ion remote entanglement, a key resource for enabling quantum networking, as well as designing a micropositioning system for electrodes in a specialized ion trap.

Noel received a Ph.D. in Atomic Physics from the University of Washington.

24. Thomas McDonald: Prototype Engineer, ColdQuanta


ColdQuanta’s last entry is Prototype Engineer Thomas McDonald, in the role since October 2020.

Prior to ColdQuanta, McDonald spent more than five years at Rolls-Royce as a Higher Apprentice and Mechanical Design Engineer. Here, he worked as a mechanical design engineer in the Rolls-Royce nuclear sector, where his focus was the application of design for manufacture principles, to improve the manufacturability of components and reduce production costs.

McDonald has an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.

25. Jaakko Jussila: Team Lead Scalable Electronics, IQM Quantum Computers


Jaakko Jussila is a Team Lead in Scalable Electronics at IQM Quantum Computers, a Finnish quantum startup that is a leader in superconducting quantum computers.

With the startup since 2020, Jussila started off as a Microwave Engineer before moving into his current role and is an expert in radar systems, RF and microwave engineering, antennas, receiver and transmitter architectures, and embedded systems.

Jussila obtained his MSc in Radio Engineering from Aalto University.

26. Georg Benka: Production Engineer, kiutra


A Production Engineer at Munich-based quantum startup kiutra, Georg Benka finished his Ph.D. on the preparation and investigation of intermetallic magnetic compounds in 2020.

During his scientific work, he extensively used and improved crystal growth apparatus, and gained hands-on experience in working with cryogenic and high-vacuum equipment. He joined kiutra as a production engineer and leads the startup’s hardware production, testing and quality management.

Benka obtained his Ph.D. in Condensed Matter and Materials Physics from the Technical University of Munich.

27. Klaus Eibensteiner: Cryo-Engineer, kiutra


Klaus Eibensteiner is a Cryo-Engineer at kiutra, in charge of the hardware development of the startup’s compact cryostats and related control electronics.

A physicist with a strong background in electrical engineering, Eibensteiner has worked on the development of a compact ADR cryostat for detector operation at kiutra as part of his thesis and received his Master’s degree from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2020.

28. Phani Muppalla: Quantum Engineer, kiutra


Phani Muppalla is a Quantum Engineer at kiutra, where he oversees the optimization of the company’s cryostats for quantum technologies.

Muppalla received his Ph.D. from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Innsbruck, for his thesis on Josephson junction array resonators.

Part Three coming soon!

The Quantum Insider (TQI)


Just in case this list hasn’t satisfied your cravings for data on hardware specialists in the quantum space, you can pop on over to The Quantum Insider (TQI), TQD’s very own data platform. Here you can find deep and insightful information on all aspects of the QIS industry.

TQI is an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, investors, companies, and government agencies looking to extend their knowledge of the growing quantum tech ecosystem!

Deep Tech Insider (DTI)

Interested in other niches of deep tech? Good, TQD team has that covered, too: Check out the Deep Tech Insider, the best place for news on all that is happening in the world of deep tech.

If you found this article to be informative, you can explore more current quantum news here, exclusives, interviews, and podcasts.

James Dargan

James Dargan is a writer and researcher at The Quantum Insider. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader.

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