Quantum computing has enormous potential but incredible complexity. When zealots claim it Cure Cancer And Save the planetCritics warn that their promises are far from being fulfilled.
One of their main challenges lies at the heart of the field: quantum bits, or “qubits.” These units of information are the quantum analog of binary bits in classical computers. For quantum computers to be useful, qubits must be reliably controlled and built at scale.
It’s a requirement that still baffles the world’s leading computer scientists. Companies like IBM and Google have made impressive strides by building qubits into their quantum chips, which must obey the laws of quantum physics at temperatures near absolute zero.
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One problem with this approach is that it requires million dollar refrigerators. Another, it’s just a A single atom in the wrong place on the chip can cause computing errors.
Oxford IonicsA startup Based in the UK, a different technique is applied. The company uses a proprietary technology called Electronic Qubit Control (EQC) to control the qubits. This system applies different voltages and currents to a conventional microchipCreates magnetic fields in the surrounding space.
Quantum bits in this system consist of individual atoms. In their natural state, these atoms don’t stay still long enough to perform a calculation. To stabilize them, one of their electrons is removed to form an ion. These ions have an electrical charge, which enables them to “trap” the electromagnetic field A hair’s breadth above a chip.
“We have perfect quits.
In 2019 Dr Chris Ballance, co-founder of Oxford Ionics, compares the results Toys that use magnets To suspend objects in air.
“It gives us the best of both worlds: We have a chip that can be made like a normal computer processor, which can operate at room temperature, and we have perfect qubits made from single ions that travel on top of the chip,” Ballance tells TNW. . “Not making qubits means we can’t make them wrong. Nature guarantees that every atom is identical to every other atom.
Unlike other “trapped-ion” exponents, Oxford Ionics does not rely on lasers to control qubits. On balance, laser-controlled devices are effective for small systems, but very difficult to fabricate and integrate at chip scale. As the size of the processor and the number of qubits increase, they also become subject to errors.
In tests, the Oxford Ionics system shows excellent results. Technology currently holds A limit of documents For quantum computing performance, speed, and error rate, Ballance’s research has also been cited. Scientific release Along with this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.
These gains have caught the eye of investors. Oxford Ionics announced last week that it has raised £30m in Series A funding, which will be used to grow the team and bring the technology to market.
“We are entering the discovery phase.
Balance is now waiting to solve real-world problems.
“In the next few years, we’re entering the discovery phase of quantum computing: until now we haven’t had quantum computers solving problems we couldn’t solve any other way—and now we do!”
Balance is not expected Integrate the technology of quantum ionics into general purpose chips. Instead, he envisions the company’s quantum chips operating in parallel with classical semiconductors.
“Think GPU with CPU,” he says.
Killer apps may take years to emergeBut Oxford Ionics Quantum computing could be brought closer to the mainstream.