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IQM announces new quantum computing breakthrough in Nature

October 4, 2020

IQM recently revealed their new breakthrough. Its new high-speed nanoscale radiation detector is now on par with the most powerful quantum computer readers available. The research for the detector was carried out at Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland by many of IQM’s present employees.

Professor Mikko Möttönen’s research group from the university and his collaborators worked together to engineer this quick and ultra-sensitive nanoscale bolometer. It can detect miniscule levels of microwave radiation. The radiation is so weak that heating coffee up at room temperature in a microwave oven by 1°C would have taken 50 septillion times more energy. For reference, that is the number 5 with 25 zeroes behind it.

‘The device is so tiny; it could even fit inside a bacterium.’

Professor Mikko Möttönen, joint Professor of Quantum Technology at Aalto University and VTT, also a Co-Founder of IQM.

This new bolometer will assist in making extremely accurate and quick measurements of the energy of photons. This is important for quantum computers as measuring the energy of qubits is at the heart of quantum algorithms. The device is also easily integrated into superconducting quantum processors due to its small size, making it practical in real-world applications.

‘We started the proof-of-concept using gold-palladium for the bolometer. It worked but at the same time we also figured out how to make it even better. This is where graphene comes in as a replacement. The end result is indeed a much better sensor that can operate at higher speed, so much better that it can be useful in reading out the state of a superconducting qubit, the building block of a superconducting quantum processor.’

M.Sc. Roope Kokkoniemi

This work was a collaborative effort involving Professor Pertti Hakonen’s NANO group at Aalto University and M.Sc. Roope Kokkoniemi, the first author of the Nature paper and IQM’s new member. The NANO group has world-leading expertise in the fabrication of graphene-based devices. The collaboration is indeed the work of tech giants towards a great goal.

This detector technology will be useful in all types and makes of quantum computers, including IQM’s own products. Conventional readers can be replaced and future quantum processors can be scaled up because of the small size of the detector. As IQM is the key figure in Finland’s quantum community, it has the unique position of being able to commercialise its findings through collaborating with the up and coming local quantum ecosystem.

Both authors of the Nature paper on the new bolometer: Roope Kokkoniemi (left) and Kuan Yen Tan (right).

‘We consider this an exciting milestone in the field of quantum technology. IQM is constantly looking for new ways to enhance its quantum-computer technology and this new bolometer certainly fits the bill.’

Dr. Kuan Yen Tan, Co-Founder of IQM who was also involved in the reported research

IQM is a great example of a success story in technology transfer, showing how research can be commercialised in swift fashion. It is now the leading quantum computer company in Europe and reached this status remarkably quickly as well as making its way to sell quantum computers commercially. The company achieved this because not only it managed to recruit many of the talented quantum engineers available, but also because it could collaborate with universities and industry partners across the European continent.

A significant part of IQM’s rapid growth and high level of expertise comes from the close interplay with academia. IQM is actually very integrated in academia, and most of its employees have backgrounds in research. As a whole, they have more than 640 scientific articles published and over 27000 citations.

About IQM

IQM‘s goal is to become a pan-European quantum provider and work with more research teams in all of Europe.