Inside Quantum Technology

Rigetti wins five-year deal with AFRL for quantum foundry services

Rigetti's Fab-1 in Fremont, California

Rigetti Computing has earned a five-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Information Directorate to supply its researchers with quantum foundry services through Rigetti’s Fab 1 manufacturing facility in Fremont, California.

The new deal puts a spotlight on Rigetti’s Quantum Foundry Services business for researchers, professors, and students looking for quantum integrated circuits (QuICs) to help them advance their work. The company has been offering services through Fab-1 since 2020, and doing so likely can bring Rigetti some near-term income as it awaits a more mature market from quantum computers and QPUs.

Under the contract, AFRL will be able to leverage Rigetti’s fabrication and manufacturing capabilities to build customized quantum systems. The contract is the latest step in an ongoing relationship between the two parties. AFRL is listed at as a previous subscriber to Rigetti Foundry Services.

Within the scope of the contract, Rigetti will be able to provide QuICs, quantum-limited amplifiers, cryogenic microwave components, and nine-qubit QPUs. Last month, as Rigetti reported second quarter 2023 earnings, Rigetti CEO Dr. Subodh Kulkarni said the company was seeing growing interest from research institutions in product and service packages that included nine–qubit QPUs.

“We are extremely privileged that AFRL’s world-class team of researchers have chosen to use Rigetti’s fabrication facilities and expertise to conduct its critical, fundamental research on how to build the next generation of quantum networks,” Kulkarni said this week. “Being granted an IDIQ contract with such an esteemed institution reinforces our existing partnership, and demonstrates the value of our fabrication capabilities.”

A company statement added that the partnership with AFRL has the potential to improve Rigetti’s understanding of the fabrication process at the device and design level given that AFRL is working to solve fundamental issues not yet being tackled by industry.

Dr. Matthew LaHaye, AFRL Team Lead – Senior Research Physicist, added, “AFRL is focused on developing quantum networking capabilities that can eventually be applied to real-world applications. A key piece of that research is the ability to develop designs for new superconducting quantum devices. Due to Rigetti’s established template and fabrication processes, AFRL is able to pursue the foundational science of understanding superconducting qubit behavior and performance.” 

Image caption: Rigetti’s Fab-1 in Fremont, California (Source: Rigetti Computing)

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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