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QED-C announces four new quantum cryogenic projects

By Sandra Helsel posted 24 May 2022

(HPCWire) The Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C), managed by SRI International, in strategic partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), today announced a $2.3 million research program to advance cryogenic technologies that will enable innovation in quantum information science and technology (QIST). IQT-News summarizes the details below.

The program aims to address gaps identified by QED-C members as barriers to progress in applications of QIST for computing, networking and communication and sensing.
“This program will help accelerate the pace of U.S. innovation and commercialization in the field of quantum,” said Celia Merzbacher, QED-C executive director. “QED-C plans for additional research opportunities for consortium members in the coming year in an effort to remove further barriers and enable advances in quantum technology and applications.”

The program consists of four projects that will be led by QED-C member companies, FormFactor, Inc., Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Quantum Opus, LLC. and Triton Systems, Inc.
FormFactor will develop a novel load lock designed to dramatically reduce the time required to test quantum chips. The new load lock is expected to enable rapid sample exchange from room temperature to 4 Kelvin (K), 1.6 K and eventually colder, enabling the high-throughputRF and DCtesting of bare die with advanced probe card incorporating hundreds, or even thousands of MEMS probes. The team will also partner with NIST to create a high-power Joule Thompson system. These innovations are expected to be transformative for technologies such as spin and photonic qubits.
Northrop Grumman will advance small cryocoolers in the 3 K to 5 K range in the 0.1 Watt (W) to 1 W lift range. Cryocoolers in this range are essential to mobile platforms, including airborne and space applications. These systems may also be used by a broad range of institutions and users, including those developing small sensors that exploit quantum effects only attainable with mK-class cryogenic cooling.
Quantum Opus will explore two parallel paths to a low-cost and compact 2.5 K cryocooler. Access to reliable and affordable cryocoolers of this size is expected to enable applications in quantum networking, quantum memories, distributed quantum sensors, biomedical imaging and free-space communication.
Triton Systems will demonstrate a multi-stage modified Collins cycle cryocooler to provide cooling at 4K for components and systems that enable quantum information science and technology (QIST). The resulting cryocooler is expected to offer a step-change improvement in operational efficiency and system integration at a cost comparable to currently available cryocoolers.

According to Joel Ullom, with NIST’s Quantum Sensors Group, cryogenic temperatures reduce the movement of electrons and atoms that causes quantum states to be disrupted. “Advancing cryogenic systems benefits many quantum applications and will accelerate the dissemination of quantum technologies,” Ullom said.

Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990.  She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

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