Quantum Computing

At Oxford Instruments we are at the forefront of enabling solutions to develop the hardware to meet R&D and scale-up challenges in the next stage of development of Quantum Computing. We offer comprehensive solutions that cover:

  • Technologies required for cryogenic environments and electronics
  • Detectors and spectroscopy for optical routes to quantum computing
  • State-of-the-art fabrication solutions for development and scale-up of qubits and quantum circuits.

Quantum Computing seeks to harness massive parallelism in computation by examining many entangled quantum states simultaneously rather than individual classical states sequentially. It is anticipated there are a diverse range of applications particularly in previously unsolvable or lengthy computational problems. This is of particular importance for optimisation, unstructured search, materials simulation, and logistics.

The end goal of this technology drive is to deliver a Universal Quantum Computer, with current forecasts projecting this to be realised around 2030. In the near future, quantum annealers and Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) systems are likely to provide commercially relevant solutions which are beyond the capability of classical computers. These early systems will utilise the parallelism to provide superior solutions to a specific subset of computational problems.

Qubit Characterisation and Qubit Scale-up

Oxford Instruments provide the advanced dilution refrigerator systems necessary for both early-stage qubit research and development and scaling towards commercial quantum computing solutions. Dilution refrigerators, which provide millikelvin temperatures, are a critical part of the infrastructure requirements for the current generation of solid-state quantum computers. This ultra-cold environment is required to access the quantum state, and ensure that the qubit coherence time can be maintained for a sufficient period for practical computation.

The energy level separation of the qubit 1’s and 0’s at the low temperatures required for operation are typically in the GHz frequency range, with carefully shaped nanosecond pulses required to control the computational operations. Coaxial lines bring these signals back to the room temperature environment which causes a heat load on the cryogenic system. Heat dissipating hardware required for signal conditioning, such as amplifiers, attenuators and filters add additional heat load, requiring further increases in cooling power. As these systems scale, there are challenges both in terms of physical space for the cold electronics, and cooling capacity to support their operation.

An example experiment configuration is shown for characterisation of superconducting qubits. Input lines are highly attenuated at each stage to reduce the impact of thermal noise from block body radiation. Amplifiers are installed on the output lines at low temperature to ensure sufficient signal amplification, and circulators are required to limit the impact on the sample from amplifier noise, whilst ensuring minimal attenuation of the output signal. 

The ProteoxMX system provides a modular platform for qubit development and qubit scale-up, enabling the system to be customised for the experiment configuration. The Secondary Insert, combined with Oxford Instruments' cold electronics integration experience enable a full experiment setup to be factory-installed directly onto a modular, self-supporting platform. This customisable line-of-sight access port maximises available space and allows scaling to high qubit counts with capacity for over 250 coaxial lines per insert, and system cooling power of up to 12 µW at 20 mK.

The Proteox platform provides a scalable architecture, allowing for increased secondary insert counts and increased cooling capacity to meet the demands of future quantum hardware.


Experimental set-up for characterisation of superconducting qubits

Oxford Instruments measurement-ready cold electronics integration for Qubit applications
Oxford Instruments measurement-ready cold electronics integration for Qubit applications

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Qubit and Quantum Circuits Fabrication

Oxford Instruments offer reliable and state of device fabrication solutions for the various approaches in hardware platforms to realise quantum computers.  Our solutions are tailored to enable the development of robust qubits with long-lived quantum states and with possible execution of rapidly addressable quantum gates. In addition, our solutions provide reliable pathways towards scaling up to fabricate a large set of interacting qubits and control elements.  

There are several approaches and materials platforms to achieve highly scalable quantum circuits. Superconducting quantum circuits and trapped ion approaches are a couple of the leading technologies to real-world applications. There are, however, several technical challenges in scaling either trapped ion or superconducting quantum computers which has led to the exploration of a wide variety of other approaches for creating qubits, such as photonic quantum computing using integrated photonics approaches; high-temperature qubits, such as diamond NV centres; semiconductor-based spin qubits; exotic topologically protected qubits or Hybrid approaches which take advantage of all these elements. These technologies are slightly lower on the technology-readiness scale but rapidly evolving with new and improved developments every day.

Oxford Instruments offer fabrications solutions to several of the leading approaches to qubit fabrication:

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Photonic Quantum Computing

As an alternative approach to solid-state quantum computing, photonic quantum computing uses individual photons as qubits within an optical system. This approach presents significant advantages, in that coherence times for entangled photons are long-lasting and can provide an increase in useful computation time of the system. As an additional advantage, it is not necessary to scale the photons to achieve greater qubit counts. Each photon has multiple modes, such as frequency, polarisation, time and location, all of which can be entangled and encoded simultaneously.

The challenges for photonic quantum computing include loss rates at interfaces and within photonic elements, and sensors sensitive enough to detect single photons. Scalability of the devices is also a challenge, with requirements for an increasing number of single-photon detectors as the number of photons within the system is increased.

Oxford Instruments offer the world's more sensitive cameras for the detection of single photons and entanglement. These are used to superb effect in systems where spatially correlated photons, incident on an imaging array, need to be detected with superb levels of discrimination and confidence, ultimately yielding accelerated measurement throughout.

Real-time Imaging of Quantum Entanglement

Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, so that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other. The Zeilinger group, University of Vienna, have used an Andor ICCD camera to demonstrate that the detector is fast and sensitive enough to image in real-time the effect of the measurement of one photon on its entangled partner.

Additionally, the use of the ICCD camera allowed the group to demonstrate the high flexibility of the setup in creating any desired spatial-mode entanglement, which suggests as well that visual imaging in quantum optics not only provides a better intuitive understanding of entanglement but will improve applications of quantum science.

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Quantum computing and qubit scale-up applications with Proteox

Quantum applications are a key driving factor for cryogenic innovation, placing increasing demands on experimental volume and wiring capacity. The new Proteox dilution refrigerator addresses these market demands through increased line-of sight-access, wider plate spacings and a 50% increase in mixing chamber plate area.

This Webinar provides an overview of how the Quantum researchers can unlock new applications, maximise system value and gain greater control over experimental set-up that can support multiple users and a variety of experiments from a single experimental system using the Proteox system.


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