The world might hail quantum computers as the future. From IBM’s universal quantum computer to Microsoft’s new programming language for quantum computers, the development is going on at a great pace. But still, there is a lot of work to be done.
Intel has created a new 17-qubit superconducting test chip and they have tried to lessen one problem associated with the quantum computing chips.
Qubits are tremendously fragile: Any noise or unintended observation of them can cause data loss. This fragility requires them to operate at about 20 millikelvin – 250 times colder than deep space. This extreme operating environment makes the packaging of qubits key to their performance and function. Intel’s Components Research Group (CR) in Oregon and Assembly Test and Technology Development (ATTD) teams in Arizona are pushing the limits of chip design and packaging technology to address quantum computing’s unique challenges.
About the size of a quarter (in a package about the size of a half-dollar coin), the new 17-qubit test chip’s improved design features include:
- New architecture allowing improved reliability, thermal performance and reduced radio frequency (RF) interference between qubits.
- A scalable interconnect scheme that allows for 10 to 100 times more signals into and out of the chip as compared to wirebonded chips.
- Advanced processes, materials and designs that enable Intel’s packaging to scale for quantum integrated circuits, which are much larger than conventional silicon chips.
Moreover, the chip can send and receive 10 to 100 more signals when compared to wire-bonded chips. Its advanced design makes it scalable for quantum integrated circuits which are considerably bigger than conventional silicon chips.
Intel has delivered the superconducting test chip to their quantum research partner QuTech based in Netherlands. Intel and QuTech’s work in quantum computing goes beyond the development and testing of superconducting qubit devices. The collaboration spans the entire quantum system – or “stack” – from qubit devices to the hardware and software architecture required to control these devices as well as quantum applications. All of these elements are essential to advancing quantum computing from research to reality.