New £0.425 million funding to boost UK’s quantum manufacturing
22 Sep 2021
Ionoptika Ltd and the University of Surrey have been awarded project grants worth a total of £425,000 from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to expand their research into new manufacturing technologies for quantum devices.
To date only a handful of companies, such as IBM and Google, have successfully built a basic quantum computer but the new award will open up new scalable manufacturing methods to researchers in the UK and around the world.
The latest university and private sector collaborative project, entitled Rapid and Scalable Single Colour-Centre Implantation for Single Photon Sources, was recommended for funding by a panel of independent assessors. They concluded that, if successful, it would lead to a “unique product that may possibly revolutionise quantum computing”.
The two recipients will use beams of ionised atoms to create quantum devices one at a time using rare earth elements such as erbium and ytterbium. Ion beams are used widely in the scientific and manufacturing sectors, from the production of computer chips to medical diagnostic instrumentation and cancer treatment.
Known as ion implantation, the technique has been used for decades to make modern computer chips and benefits from being much quicker than other manufacturing methods. The main limitation of the technique for quantum applications has been the inability to precisely control the location and numbers of implanted ions at the single-ion level. The new tool from Ionoptika, called Q-One, solves this and is fast enough to implant one thousand quantum bits (qubits) per second.
Managing director at Ionoptika Paul Blenkinsopp, commented, “Quantum technologies are set to drive the next generation of innovation and technologies. Ionoptika is delighted to be working with the University of Surrey on developing the tools and infrastructure that will be needed to realise many of these exciting quantum applications.”
Dr David Cox, from the University of Surrey, added that the ability to precisely control the implantation of ions at the single-atom level offered enormous potential to the newly emerging quantum technologies that are set to revolutionise the world.