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Quantum News Briefs October 11: China’s Baidu marks its latest advance in quantum computing, AUCloud launches Australia’s first sovereign quantum-safe encryption service powered by Arqit Quantum Cloud™; Archer Materials uses CMOS technology to detect quantum information & MORE

By Sandra Helsel posted 11 Oct 2022

Quantum News Briefs October 11 begins with WSJ’s Karen Hao who discusses the advances China’s Baidu has made with its quantum computer Qian Shi followed by AUCloud’s launch of Australia’s first Sovereign Quantum-Safe Encryption Service powered by Arqit Quantum Cloud™; third is Archer Materials use of CMOS technology to detect quantum information and even MORE.

China’s Baidu marks its latest advance in quantum computing

Karen Hao of the Wall Street Journal reported this week on Baidu Inc., a Chinese internet pioneer known for its Google-like search engine, and its recently announced quantum computer named Qian Shi, which means “heaven is the origin of everything” in Mandarin Chinese. Quantum News Briefs summarizes below.
Baidu said its new computer is accessible free of charge via a website and mobile app to researchers, engineers and even schoolchildren. Quantum News Briefs summarizes below.
The U.S., Germany, France and India are among the countries that have each committed upward of $1 billion in state funding to be spent on quantum technologies research over the next few years. Beijing doesn’t release numbers on its planned investments, but Chinese media reports and U.S. policy research groups, including Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank Rand Corp. and McKinsey, have placed its commitment over a similar period to between $1 billion and more than $15 billion.
Since leaping ahead in its quest to build a hack-proof internet, Beijing’s shift of attention to quantum computing has been evident in the growing number of research projects and breakthroughs from Chinese scientists. The work has fed into a budding number of commercial efforts. Baidu relied on innovations from Chinese universities to build its computer, says Runyao Duan, the director of Baidu’s institute for quantum computing.
Compared with the U.S., China was a latecomer to quantum computing. It sought first to dominate the related field of quantum communication. The U.S. still leads in quantum computing according to a 2022 analysis of scientific papers from Rand Corp. And Washington already has sought to slow China’s gains. American academics say it’s gotten harder for Chinese students to obtain visas to conduct quantum research in the U.S. “It’s become common knowledge that when Chinese students or postdocs come to the U.S., they can’t say they’re doing quantum computing,” says Scott Aaronson, director of the Quantum Information Center at the University of Texas, Austin. At a conference in Beijing where Qian Shi was unveiled, Yu Dapeng, dean of Shenzhen’s Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, lamented the U.S.-imposed obstacles as well as internal challenges facing China’s continued quantum development. The original WSJ article can be accessed here.


AUCloud launches Australia’s first Sovereign Quantum-Safe Encryption Service powered by Arqit Quantum Cloud™

Sovereign Cloud Australia Pty Ltd, a leader in sovereign Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Arqit Quantum Inc. (Nasdaq: ARQQ, ARQQW) (“Arqit”), a leader in quantum-safe encryption, are pleased to announce general availability of the Asia Pacific region’s first Quantum Safe Symmetric Key Agreement Software. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the news announcement.
Powered by Arqit’s QuantumCloud™, the service is available now from AUCloud as a Platform as a Service (PaaS), enabling quantum-safe encryption capability for the Australian market and near-Region customers. The service enables governments and enterprises to protect today against “Harvest Now, Decrypt Later” quantum computing attacks and greatly improve the security of a variety of IoT, defence and financial services applications, which is unachievable with other post quantum cryptographic methods. Arqit is the only company in the world to publish an independent assurance report demonstrating that its software makes keys which are Zero Trust and Computationally Secure.
As leaders in the quantum environment, this is a critical milestone for Australia’s capability, and is a demonstration of the close collaboration promoted by the AUKUS trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, announced on 15 September 2021.
Arqit supplies a unique quantum safe encryption Platform-as-a-Service which makes the communications links of any networked device secure against current and future forms of attack – even from a quantum computer. Arqit’s product, QuantumCloud™, enables any device to download a lightweight software agent, which can create encryption keys in partnership with any other device.  The company was recently awarded the Innovation in Cyber award at the National Cyber Awards. Click here to read the complete news announcement.


Archer Materials uses CMOS technology to detect quantum information

Archer Materials (ASX: AXE) has announced a “step-change” advance in the development of its 12CQ chip as it has been able to detect quantum information in the qubit material at room temperature.  Danica Cullinane of Small Caps reported on the development and her article is summarized below.
The company, which develops advanced semiconductor devices including processor chips relevant to quantum computing, said it used complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology for the first time to detect the information.
CMOS is the predominant technology used in designing chips in the semiconductor industry and is broadly used today to form integrated circuits in numerous and varied applications including electronic devices such as processors, memory, and sensors.
Archer chief executive officer Dr Mohammad Choucair said the significance of this development “cannot be understated” and represents a “step-change technological achievement” in advancing the company’s 12CQ quantum chip development.
“A key advantage of the new CMOS chip is that the componentry is made using standard and commercially available semiconductor fabrication technology,” he said.
“This achievement builds on the considerable progress Archer has made this year in the design and development of the 12CQ chip, which all link to the future operation of the technology,” Dr Choucair added. Click here for original article.


Boron Nitride with a Twist Could Lead to New Way to Make Qubits

A team led by researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has now developed a method, using a solid-state “twisted” crystalline layered material, which gives rise to tiny light-emitting points called color centers. These color centers can be switched on and off with the simple application of an external voltage. Quantum News Briefs summarizes from NewsWise, a DOE Science News Source.
“This is a first step toward a color center device that engineers could build or adapt into real quantum systems,” said Shaul Aloni, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, who co-led the study.
The research could lead to a new way to make quantum bits.
Several years ago researchers discovered that color centers in a synthesized material called hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), which is commonly used as a lubricant or additive for paints and cosmetics, emitted even brighter colors than color centers in diamond. But engineers have struggled to use the material in applications because producing the defects at a determined location is difficult, and they lacked a reliable way to switch the color centers on and off.
The Berkeley Lab team now solves these problems. Cong Su, a postdoc from the research group led by Alex Zettl, a faculty senior scientist at Berkeley Lab and professor of physics at UC Berkeley, examined how color centers behaved in different sophisticated forms of hBN. The researchers found that two stacked and twisted layers of the material resulted in the activation and enhancement of ultraviolet (UV) emission from a color center, which can be shut off when a voltage is applied across the structure.
The study achieves three steps toward realization of a scalable quantum device. First, the UV color centers in hBN can be reliably activated to exceptional maximum brightness, by twisting the crystal interface. Second, these color centers can then be gradually and reversibly dimmed by a simple applied voltage. Finally, electron beam treatment allows further precise spatial positioning of these color centers.  Click here to read complete NewsWise article.


Optical foundations illuminated by quantum light

A team of researchers at Tampere University have been able to show that quantum waves behave significantly differently from their classical counterparts and can be used to increase the precision of distance measurements. Quantum News Briefs summarizes recent Phys.org article.
Their findings also add to the discussion on physical origin of the anomalous focusing behavior. The results are now published in Nature Photonics.
“Interestingly, we started with an idea based on our earlier results and set out to structure quantum light for enhanced measurement precision. However, we then realized that the underlying physics of this application also contributes to the long debate about the origins of the Gouy phase anomaly of focused light fields,” explains Robert Fickler, group leader of the Experimental Quantum Optics group at Tampere University.
As the Gouy phase behavior can be used to determine the distance a beam of light has propagated, the speed up of the quantum Gouy  could allow for an improvement in the precision of measuring distances.
With this new understanding at hand, the researchers are planning to develop novel techniques to enhance their measurement abilities such that it will be possible to measure more complex beams of structured photons. The team expects that this will help them push forward the application of the observed effect, and potentially bring to light more differences between quantum and classical light fields.  Click here to read original Phys.org article.


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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