(Sifted.eu) Quantum Motion, a four-year-old UK-based startup is today announcing a quantum computing breakthrough, demonstrating that a stable qubit can be created on a standard silicon chip, similar to those used in smartphones.
By cooling the chip down to a temperature just above absolute zero (−273°C), and by using tiny transistors, the Quantum Motion team were able to isolate a single electron and measure its quantum state for an astounding nine seconds. Nine seconds may not sound very impressive to the layperson — but in the world of quantum computing, where quantum states are more commonly measured in nanoseconds, it is an unimaginably long stretch.
It is another sign that small companies are still capable of making big advances over big ones when it comes to quantum technology.
John Morton, professor of nanoelectronics at UCL and cofounder of Quantum Motion said the Quantum Motion technique could be “a blueprint to shortcut our way to industrial-scale quantum chip production” tapping into the already existing silicon chip industry.
Importantly, if the silicon approach works, the quantum computer industry would not have to build a new set of chip foundries — they could use the infrastructure that is already there. It would also be easier to combine quantum and classic computers if both use the same silicon chip and transistor architecture.
Quantum Motion, which has a team of 20 people at the moment, raised £8m Series A funding last year led by Dutch VC INKEF Capital, with Octopus Ventures coming in as a new investor, and existing funders IP Group, Oxford Sciences Innovation, and Parkwalk Advisors taking part.
Quantum Motion is one of a number of quantum computer companies that are trying to create quantum computing components out of more readily-available materials.