NA YOUNG KIM Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, IQC Director, Aquabits Inc. Transformative Quantum Technologies Affiliate



After 14 years in academia, Na Young Kim is branching out. Now, Kim is also a Director at Aquabits, an innovative ion trapping startup founded by Sushanta Mitra, the Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at Waterloo. Aquabits has designed a novel and low-cost way to trap ions using artificial water channels. Kim was intrigued with the idea because it sounded so wild that it just may work.

Working at a startup and running the Quantum Innovation Lab at IQC is the perfect fit for Kim. Though she previously worked in industry, Kim returned to academia to explore new ideas for new technologies through fundamental research. Now she relishes the challenge of balancing both.

“Going straight to [launching] a startup wasn’t appealing because there are lots of hurdles to building a hardware startup,” Kim said. “Quantum technologies require customized equipment, and that’s often a barrier for new companies.”

Kim is excited to see where her lab research and the innovations coming out of Aquabits will lead. Her current focus is to help build new, more scalable materials for quantum products that are stable even at higher temperatures. Her big goal with Aquabits is to have functional devices in compact forms that operate at close to room temperatures.

“The world of academia is a great arena to establish prototyping hardware,” she said.

She has learned two critical lessons during her time working both in academia and industry. Firstly, patience and persistence are required for successful research. And secondly, although preparation is critical, you have to be bold enough to take risks.


Connecting quantum researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors to advance the commercialization of quantum technology


of IQC faculty are commercializing their research and expertise


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quantum valley supported through IQC's direct impact on Canada's quantum-readiness, job creation, competitiveness and overall prosperity

The Quantum-Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility (QNFCF) is a unique facility in Canada that offers researchers and industry partners access to highly specialized equipment and trained professionals to support the development of new technologies.


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of industry manufacturing time from prototyping at QNFCF

students working at ICQ lab


The Quantum-Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility (QNFCF) is open to academia, the community, industry and government. QNFCF is committed to supporting research output and offers its members characterized and stable baseline processes, nanofabrication process support, detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and outstanding customer service.

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The Quantum Alliance (QA) was launched through Transformative Quantum Technologies* (TQT). QA is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between academia and industry. Its goal is to foster a quantum research and development community to advance the capability and applications of quantum technologies. It’s expanding on technologies under development at TQT and encourages participants to have conversations about the impact of quantum applications on a wide range of industries, including defence, healthcare, and natural resources.

*A recipient of $76 million in Canada First Research Excellence Funds, TQT is dedicating seven years and over $144 million to tackling quantum challenges that will drive breakthroughs.

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The Quantum Exploration Space showcases quantum technologies and offers industry partners a chance to get hands-on with quantum. This facility brings together quantum experts and industry in an interactive environment to facilitate the discovery of quantum solutions to some of the most pressing challenges within industry. The space is outfitted with quantum technologies and staffed with experts to assist groups in their discovery of the impact of quantum. Partners from electronics manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and research agencies have toured the quantum exploration space.