IMEC to make photonic circuits for quantum computing

August 17, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
IMEC to make photonic circuits for quantum computing
Optical quantum computing startup Xanadu (Toronto, Ontario) has partnered with research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) for the manufacture of photonic chips in silicon-nitride.

Xanadu was founded in 2016 to exploit quantum effects in light and form photonic ICs to perform fault-tolerant quantum computations. By operating with light Xanadu expects to mitigate the low temperature requirements of electronic quantum computation. Laser light is used to carry information through Xanadu's optical chips and it is expected that this approach will allow quantum calculation at room temperature, eliminating cooling systems required by most other types of quantum computers.

The partnership is to fabricate ultra-low loss and highly uniform silicon-nitride circuits for error corrected qubits.

These photonic qubits are based on squeezed states - a special type of light generated by chip-integrated silicon photonic devices. Xanadu's photonic approach offers the benefits of scalability to one million qubits via optical networking, room temperature computation, and the natural ability to leverage silicon fabrication.

Competing platforms for photonic quantum computing traditionally rely on single photon sources made from silicon waveguides, which suffer from non-deterministic operation, IMEC said. Squeezed states are deterministically generated, and can be used to distil error-resistant qubits called 'GKP states'.

"IMEC is one of the few semiconductor R&D centers that does advanced technology R&D on advanced 200mm and 300mm lines, as well as volume manufacturing on their 200mm line, capable of delivering up to a thousand wafers per year per customer on a few platforms including ultralow-loss photonic platforms. The seamless transfer offered by IMEC of new processes to production is especially critical for rapid scaling of our technology," said Zachary Vernon, head of the Xanadu hardware team, in a statement issued by IMEC.

Christian Weedbrook, Xanadu founder and CEO, said: "Xanadu’s ultimate mission is to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere. To do this we have the ambitious goal of reaching one million qubits using photonics. Working with IMEC will help us build the right foundation based on fault tolerance and error-correctable qubits."

Xanadu offers cloud access to both photonic quantum


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