Michael J. Biercuk, Ph.D.



Prof. Michael J. Biercuk is an experimental physicist and Director of the Quantum Control Laboratory

Michael was educated in the United States, earni
ng his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Harvard University. 

From 2005-2008 Michael served as a full-time scientific consultant to DARPA, where he specialized in quantum information science and next-generation microprocessor architectures.  Following his time in DC, Michael returned to the laboratory working in the Ion Storage Group at NIST, Boulder. 

Michael is a regular contributor to both the technical literature and the popular press, providing commentary on issues pertaining to science policy and the role of science in society.

  1. -2015 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher (Winner)

  2. -2015 Prime Minister’s Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year (Finalist)

  3. -2014 Australian Innovation Challenge (Finalist)

  4. -2013 Australian Innovation Challenge (Finalist)

  5. -2013 Invitee, Founders Fund F50

  6. -2012 SMH “Top 100”

  7. -2012 Eureka Prize for Innovation in Computer Science (Finalist)

  8. -2011 Australian Innovation Challenge (Finalist)



Past Research experience:


The work that Michael pursued as a graduate student focused on the engineering of nanoelectronic devices using carbon nanotubes - a molecular form of Carbon in the shape of a soda-straw with a diameter of just one nanometer (one billionth of a meter).  At these size-scales electrons exhibit distinctly quantum mechanical effects, such as the discretization of conductance, and the appearance of discrete “particle-in-a-box” energy levels.  Michael’s research dramatically advanced the state-of-the art in nanotube-based electronic devices for a variety of applications.  His work included the first demonstration of local electrostatic gating along the length of a nanotube, the first demonstration of conductance quantization in a carbon nanomaterial, and the first realization of fully controllable double quantum dots in a carbon nanotube - the fundamental devices used in solid-state quantum computing.

Advanced Microprocessor Architectures:

In modern high-performance computer systems there has been a growing imbalance between total theoretical computational power and available communications bandwidth.  This imbalance has limited system functionality and required significant architectural tradeoffs.  While at DARPA, Michael contributed to an effort aimed at the realization of novel microprocesor architectures enabled by high-bandwidth, low-power, on-chip photonic networks.  This work gave rise to two DARPA programs led by Dr. Jagdeep Shah, UNIC and APS, both aiming to enable radically new processor architectures and capabilities by restoring a balance in system-level computational throughput and on/off-chip communications bandwidth.

All content copyright M. J. Biercuk, 2011-2018, unless otherwise noted.