Qld startup to pioneer superconducting quantum hardware

Thursday, 02 November, 2023

Qld startup to pioneer superconducting quantum hardware

Researchers at a Queensland quantum energy startup are developing microscopic superconducting hardware that is critical to scaling up future quantum computer technology. The University of Queensland’s Professor Tom Stace and Associate Professor Arkady Federov have co-founded Analog Quantum Circuits (AQC) after a decade of research on engineering quantum systems. Stace said AQC is working to commercialise microwave circulators 1000 times smaller than what is currently available.

“Commercial circulators are the size of a matchbox and we have managed to shrink them to a few tens of micrometres, which is a fraction of the width of a human hair,” Stace said.

A quantum computer is measured by the number of elementary parts called qubits, and Stace estimates that at least a million of these will be needed before they become useful for complex computations. “We’re building miniature components that will scale with the quantum computer, so companies building the rest of the system are able to incorporate our technology,” Stace said.

AQC is reportedly the first superconducting quantum technology startup in Australia and its team works out of the Superconducting Quantum Devices Lab at UQ’s St Lucia campus, building on work started within the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS). The work is performed in cryogenic dilution refrigerators that operate at -273°C. Federov explained that quantum hardware is extremely sensitive, and the ambient electrical noise at room temperature is too loud. The microwave circulator that the researchers are developing will help shield that noise.

“We are developing part of the communications channel between the outside world and the quantum computer others are trying to build, so that interface technology must sustain the temperature difference between the interior and exterior of the fridge,” Federov said.

Image caption: Gold plated fridge. Image credit: The University of Queensland.

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