The UT spinoff company QuiX, currently developing a quantum processor, will receive financial support by FORWARD.one and the Oost NL development agency. What makes this processor special, is that it works with light: not with superconducting ‘qubits’ but with photons.
The processor QuiX is working on, has a vast number of adjustable components for guiding and manipulating light: they can split or mix light, for example. It can be made programmable by externally varying the components’ function. This not only works for continuous light coming from a laser, but also for single photons: an unexpected research result with high potential in quantum computing.
Scale up and accelerate
For decades now, quantum computing has been seen as a big step forward, while working examples were not possible until very recently. The processor QuiX is introducing, can speed up these developments, investor FORWARD.one expects. The basic chip with eight inputs and eight outputs for photons, already one of the largest of its kind, is already a powerful platform for experimenting with typical quantum problems. Competing with ‘classic’ supercomputers would imply raising the number of photons. Thanks to the new investment, QuiX can improve the components and scale up the system.
‘Quantum supremacy’, in which a quantum computer outperforms a classic supercomputer, was possible in very few cases until now, using superconducting quantum bits or qubits. A quantum computer should be able to solve very complex problems, is the idea, by calculating all possible alternatives at once. For this, the quality of the building blocks is critical: a qubit is still quite vulnerable. Photons, as an alternative, can be more stable and even operate at room temperatures, but they have to meet strict requirements as well. In the Centre for Quantum Nanotechnology Twente, part of UT’s MESA+ Institute, research is done on several types of quantum hardware: the on-campus NanoLab has the perfect infrastructure for developing and comparing these building blocks. This is done in close cooperation with companies like LioniX International: it is the TripleX photonic platform, developed by this company, that is the basis of the Quix’ quantum processor.
FORWARD.one invests in ‘game-changing hardware innovations’. Oost NL, the development agency for the eastern part of The Netherlands, has been working on a strong photonics ecosystem for a while now. It invested in QuiX earlier on, and also in the PHIX company that is aiming at assembly of larger series of photonic chips.