By Becky Bracken posted 24 Jun 2021

An Austrian team at University of Innsbruck announced they’ve built a demonstrator for an ion trap quantum computer small enough to fit into 2, 19-inch server racks. The development is an important step toward quantum data centers and proving a secure alternative to quantum cloud computing.

“Our quantum computing experiments usually fill 30- to 50-square-meter laboratories,” Thomas Monz of the University of Innsbruck said about the milestone. “We were now looking to fit the technologies developed here in Innsbruck into the smallest possible space while meeting standards commonly used in industry.”

Indeed, this compact ion trap quantum computer is petite compared to the IBM System One recently deployed in Stuttgart, Germany, which, while beautiful, was large and difficult to assemble, particularly under COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Austrian team explained their smaller quantum computer footprint doesn’t sacrifice functionality.

“We were now looking to fit the technologies developed here in Innsbruck into the smallest possible space while meeting standards commonly used in industry,” Christian Marciniak from the Innsbruck team said. “We were able to show that compactness does not have to come at the expense of functionality.”

The compact ion trap installed in a vacuum chamber was developed by University of Innsbruck spinoff Alpine Quantum Technologies and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Other components were from Applied Optics and Engineer in Jena and TOPTICA Photonics in Munich, Germany.

Soon, the team anticipates the compact quantum computer will be programmable online. The system already achieved the goal of 24 functional qubits.

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Compact Trapped Ion Quantum Computer