Jan Kycia

Jan Kycia
Location: PHY 373
Phone: 519-888-4567 x45177


Dr. Kycia's group works on the experimental investigation of superconducting and quantum mechanical devices; in particular Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) and GaAs quantum dots (Spin Qubits). The experiments are run at ultra low temperatures (down to 0.004K). With these low temperatures, the quantum aspects of devices can be isolated and sensors can have the lowest levels of noise. These devices are used for quantum computing applications as well as for studying novel magnetic and superconducting materials.

Research Interests

  • Josephson junction-based sensors and devices (SQUIDS, Qubits)
  • Semiconductor-based single spin-charge devices
  • Cryogenic electronics and techniques
  • Quantum Science
  • Quantum Materials

Scholarly Research

Characterization of quantum devices as building blocks to Qubits and state of the art sensors: In order to make high performance qubits and sensors, the superconductor-based Josephson junctions and semiconductor-based quantum dot devices need to be optimized. My group works with other groups such as NRC:Ottawa and D-wave Inc. to develop improved devices. My group works on cryogenic electronic measurements. More specifically: D-wave-Waterloo collaboration on developing improved superconducting devices: My group is responsible for characterizing the low frequency noise (1/f noise) and the sub gap leakage currents in Josephson junctions produced be the quantum computer manufacturer, D-wave Inc. . We are in the feedback loop for developing improved devices that are needed to produce higher performance quantum computers. This work involves cooling samples to typically 10-100 mK temperature and characterising the device performance. These characteristics are then correlated to manufacturing and processing parameters. 1/f noise can occur from single atom defects moving within the quantum tunnel junction. Sub-gap leakage can be caused by tiny pinholes in the insulating tunnel barriers. A third characterization we are working on with D-wave is the rf characterization of dielectric losses at cryogenic temperatures. Often high-quality factor, Q, resonators are desired for sensors and qubits. Defects in the dielectrics can absorb energy (similar to water in a microwave oven). We work on identifying and reducing these unwanted loss mechanisms in the devices. The better the junctions and devices get, the more challenging it becomes to detect the noise mechanisms. The field is pushing to work at lower and lower temperatures to reduce noise and decoherence mechanisms also working on larger scale circuits. We are working on new characterization configurations that are suited for lower temperatures and provide higher throughput. NRC:Ottawa-Waterloo collaboration on developing improved single-charge, single-spin devices: My group is working on semiconductor-based qubits and sensors. These typically isolate a single (or a few) electron(s) or hole(s) in a nanoscale electronic device. With nano-scaled gates, we can set potential wells to localize these charges. These devices can be used to make extremely sensitive electric field sensors, they can also create qubits. One push is to improve the coherence time by identifying and minimizing decoherence sources. One such source is the interaction of the charge/spin with the nuclei in the substrate. New substrates are being developed to avoid this interaction. My group is working with a group at NRC:Ottawa (Sergei Studenikin) as well as local researchers at Waterloo (Jonathan Baugh, Zbig Wasilewski, and Francois Sfigakis) to develop improved devices. My group’s specialty in this collaboration is in the cryogenic rf-electronics measurements. We are characterizing the devices made with new materials and developing higher-sensitivity, higher-speed readout measurements. With higher speeds and higher sensitivity, we can reveal new physics at play in the devices. One goal is to reach the quantum noise limit and study quantum noise effects. With an improved readout, the performance of the qubits is improved.


  • 1997, Doctorate Physics, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA
  • 1991, Master of Science Physics, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 1989, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Physics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


  • 2007, Ontario Early Research Award for applied superconducting devices
  • 2001, Research Innovation Award for novel Transition Edge Sensor (TES) detector, the Research Corporation

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
  • Associate, Institute for Quantum Computing


  • MNS 101 - Materials and Nanosciences in the Modern World
    • Taught in 2018
  • MNS 221 - Physics and the Solid State
    • Taught in 2021, 2022
  • PHYS 358 - Thermal Physics
    • Taught in 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • PHYS 391 - Electronics
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • PHYS 391L - Electronics Laboratory
    • Taught in 2021

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • H. M. Revell, L. R. Yaraskavitch, J. D. Mason, K. A. Ross, H. M. L. Noad, H. A. Dabkowska, B. D. Gaulin, P. Henelius & J. B. Kycia Evidence of impurity and boundary effects on magnetic monopole dynamics in spin ice ​Nature Physics 85, doi:10.1038/nphys2466 (2012)
  • D. Pomaranski, and J. B. Kycia ​Low Temperature Specific Heat Measurements of Frustrated Magnetic Materials Physics in Canada 68, No. 2: 99-102 (2012)
  • L. R. Yaraskavitch, H. M. Revell, S. Meng, K. A. Ross, H. M. L. Noad, H. A. Dabkowska, B. D. Gaulin, and J. B. Kycia Spin dynamics in the frozen state of the dipolar spin ice material Dy2Ti2O7 Phys. Rev. B 85, Issue 18, 020410(R) (2012)
  • J. A. Quilliam, S. Meng, C. G. A. Mugford, and J. B. Kycia Evidence of Spin Glass Dynamics in Dilute LiHoxY1-xF4 Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, Issue 18, 187204 (2008)
  • Please see Google Scholar for a complete list of Dr. Kycia's publications.