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Atom Computing: A quantum computing startup that believes it can ultimately win the qubit race

By IQT News posted 23 Nov 2021

(Forbes) Atom Computing describes itself as “a company obsessed with building the world’s most scalable quantum computers out of optically trapped neutral atoms.” Headquartered in Berkeley, California; the company recently revealed it had spent the past two years secretly building a quantum computer using Strontium atoms as its units of computation. Paul Smith-Goodson of Moor Insights and Strategy Contributor Group has provided an extensive review of Atom Computing which IQT-News summarizes here.
Atom Computing received $15M in Series A funding from investors Venrock, Innovation Endeavors, and Prelude Ventures earlier this year. The company also received three grants from the National Science Foundation.
Rob Hays, a former Intel, and Lenovo executive was recently named CEO of the company. Atom Computing’s staff of quantum physicists and design engineers fully complements quantum-related disciplines and applications. This month Atom Computing signaled its continued momentum by adding two quantum veterans to key positions within the company:
Denise Ruffner was named Chief Business Officer, responsible for the company’s strategic customer and partner ecosystem and business development engagements. Denise was previously with IonQ and IBM Quantum.
Justin Ging joined Atom as its Chief Product Officer. He will lead product management and customer experience for Atom Computing’s solutions portfolio. Justin was previously with Honeywell Quantum Solutions, where he led commercialization and business development for its quantum business unit.

Atom Computing’s Phoenix platform uses a specific type of nuclear-spin qubits created from an isotope of Strontium, a naturally occurring element. Strontium is a neutral atom. At the atomic level, neutral atoms have equal numbers of protons and electrons. However, isotopes of Strontium have varying numbers of neutrons. These differences in neutrons produce different energy levels in the atom. Atom Computing uses the isotope Strontium-87 and takes advantage of its unique energy levels to create spin qubits.

Neutral atom qubits offer many advantages that make them suitable for quantum computing. Here are just a few:
Natural qubits are all perfect. Every qubit is identical to all others of the same species
High connectivity among qubits
Potential to rapidly scale to very large numbers of qubits
Flexible geometry of arrays
High coherence times
Wireless control by lasers in free space
Optical tweezers are scalable allowing for easy mobility
Proven science over decades of physics research – this atom type is used to power the most accurate atomic clock

Atom Computing is working with several technology partners. It is also running tests with a small number of undisclosed customers.It’s a good sign that Rob Hays, CEO, believes Atom Computing will begin generating revenue in mid-2023.

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