Quantum computers will one day solve problems beyond the reach of the world’s largest supercomputers. However, manufacturing quantum computers at scale remains a major challenge. Oxford Ionics, which freshly banked £30m from its Series A funding, aims to address this problem by building quantum processors using standard semiconductor chips.
The round was led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers. Other investors include Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, Torch Partners, 2xN (a London-based VC founded by quantum investor Niels Nielsen), and Hermann, founder of British chip maker ARM. I have Hauser.
Oxford Ionics plans to use the funding to triple the size of its team to around 80 people over the next two years to build and test a high-performance quantum computer at its Oxford location. The startup aims to roll out access to a fleet of quantum computers and select customers through 2023. Quantum as a Service model.
The race for quantum supremacy
There are currently several approaches to creating quantum computers, competing to prove their superiority. Oxford Ionics uses trapped ion technology, which uses an electromagnetic field to “trap” single atoms in place.
Chris Ballance, co-founder of Oxford Ionics, told Sifted that the main advantage of the technology is that it ensures that each qubit (the quantum equivalent of a computer bit) is perfect and identical to each other. increase.
“Unlike their synthetic counterparts, such as superconducting circuits or spins in silicon, they are not manufactured as part of the device and do not change over time or with small changes in device fabrication,” Ballance said. says.
This could be the key to quantum computer performance. A 100-qubit chip could outperform the world’s most powerful computer, if the quality of the qubits is high enough. “Otherwise, we might need a warehouse-sized 1m cubit machine of his to do the same job.”
Developers of trapped ion quantum computers, such as Quantinuum, IonQ, and Alpine Quantum Technologies, rely on expensive and complex laser systems to control trapped ions.
Instead of lasers, Oxford Ionics uses electronic qubit control technology that can be integrated into standard silicon chips. This will allow startups to manufacture quantum processors at scale using existing manufacturing techniques.
“We have already shown that quantum computing chips can be built in standard semiconductor foundries with world-class performance,” says Balance. “We are using these funds to scale out this technology to build powerful, accurate and reliable quantum computers that can solve the world’s most important problems.”
Clara Rodríguez Fernández is a deep tech correspondent for Sifted based in Berlin.follow her LinkedIn.
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