Australian quantum startup enlists GlobalFoundries to develop mass qubit production

Company claims tech can detect quantum information at room temperature

A semiconductor company called Archer Materials says it is working with chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries to help it develop high-volume production quantum processor technology.

Australia's Archer said it has engaged with GlobalFoundries on industrial-scale fabrication of its 12CQ quantum chip technology, which the company claims as a breakthrough that can detect quantum information at room temperature.

As part of the arrangement, Archer will have access to the technology facilities and manufacturing processes of GlobalFoundries. The two will explore pathways for potential high-volume manufacturing of 12CQ chip devices and components, and will also work closely on device and circuit design, the company said.

According to Archer, current quantum computing qubit architectures rely on custom fabrication, unlike the processor chips that power today's classical computers, which are geared towards high-volume manufacturing using well-established semiconductor processes.

Much of the current quantum technology suffers from reliability problems due to errors in the qubits induced by noise. One of the suggested solutions to this is to combine the output of many qubits to make a single logical qubit in a quantum processor.

Finding ways to manufacture qubits using existing industrial-scale semiconductor foundries is therefore seen as a significant challenge in developing quantum processors, and this is what Archer is apparently hoping to tackle by teaming up with GlobalFoundries, which produces chips for customers such as AMD, Broadcom, and Qualcomm.

"Archer is now positioned to leverage the expertise and capabilities of a tier-one semiconductor manufacturer to accelerate the development of the 12CQ quantum computing chip technology," CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair said in a statement.

The details of Archer's quantum computing chips have not been disclosed, but the nature of the qubit technology it intends to use was published in scientific journal Nature Communications in 2016.

The article refers to spin polarization in conducting metallic-like carbon nanospheres by the use of electron spin resonance to control the quantum state of the electron spin by applying short bursts of an oscillating magnetic field. It claims that the quantum state of the electron spin confined on the carbon nanospheres could be controlled and measured at room temperature (300K, or about 26°C/80°F).

The company said it has been granted patent protection for its 12CQ technology in the US, China, Japan, South Korea, Europe, and Australia.

Archer is not the only company seeking to develop mass production techniques for quantum processors.

Earlier this year, Intel and QuTech said they had managed to create silicon qubits for quantum logic gates using a 300mm wafer similar to those the company uses to mass produce processor chips.

The process could potentially be used to fabricate more than 10,000 arrays with silicon-spin qubits on a single wafer with greater than 95 percent yield, according to Intel. ®

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