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IQM, QphoX eye optical interface to unlock quantum computer scalability

By Dan O'Shea posted 01 Sep 2022

IQM Quantum Computers is collaborating with quantum transduction start-up QphoX to work on a new interface method for helping quantum computers and quantum processors communicate with one another via optical interconnects.

Doing so will help overcome one of the main obstacles to quantum computer scalability, as microwave quantum processors must operate in a demanding cryogenic environment while being controlled via microwave lines and cryogenic amplifiers that generate substantial heat, thus limiting the size of the processor, the companies said in a statement. 

“The future large scale quantum computers require technologies for optical communication or cryogenic signal generation, or both,” said Dr. Juha Vartiainen, COO and Co-founder, IQM Quantum Computers, which is based in Finland. “We found QphoX’s expertise and technology plans as a promising alternative to communicate the control and readout signal of a quantum computer to the qubit chip using optical fiber. This collaboration will become an enabler for systems beyond 1000 qubits through simplifying the cabling and new product innovation.”

Dutch firm QphoX specializes in photon wavelength conversion for quantum technologies and is working to create the world’s first quantum modem which will allow quantum processors to be networked together. This will unlock new applications like distributed quantum computing between remotely entangled quantum processors, solving one of the biggest scaling challenges facing the industry.

“By leveraging our unique microwave to optical conversion technology, signals can instead be routed through the cryostat via optical fibers,” said Frederick Hijazi, COO and Co-Founder, QphoX. “As a result, both the spatial and heat load constraints placed on the cryostat will be reduced, allowing larger processors to be built in a single cryostat. We are very excited about embarking on this new partnership. Over the past several months we have already been working with IQM’s processors and have been very impressed with the quality and performance.”

IQM last month announced it had raised €128 million to expand its business and accelerate product development. QphoX, often described as a quantum modem developer, announced its own much smaller seed round back in May of 2021, and more recently in June of this year announced a partnership with fellow Dutch firm Quantware (both companies are based in Delft, Netherlands) to work on methods for the networking of quantum processors.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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