Quantum Company Of The Week: IonQ

Quantum Company Of The Week: Ionq

At the forefront of quantum computing technology is IonQ, a company that leverages trapped ion technology to build the most powerful quantum computer in the world. Founded in 2015 by Chris Monroe and Jungsang Kim, IonQ has partnered with Microsoft to make its computers available on the cloud, listed on the NYSE stock market, and partnered with leading quantum computing company Multiverse Computing.

Who Are IonQ?

IonQ is a leading quantum hardware manufacturer based in Maryland, USA. They specialize in trapped-ion technology for developing quantum computers to build the world’s best quantum computers to solve the world’s most complex problems. 

The company was co-founded by Christopher Monroe, a professor at the University of Maryland, and Jungsang Kim, a professor at Duke University, in 2015 following 25 years of academic research in quantum information science. 

IonQ is Monroe’s brainchild. He got the idea from his quantum computing research as a Staff Researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he led a group that created the first controlled qubits and the first controllable quantum logic gate using trapped. 

Kim and Monroe began working together and published a review paper in Science Magazine titled Scaling the Ion Trap Quantum Processor, which combined Monroe’s research on trapped ions with Kim’s work on scalable quantum information processing and quantum communication technology. 

Through their partnership, IonQ was formed. They received a license to core technology from the University of Maryland and Duke University. The company is headquartered in Maryland, USA, with 51 to 200 employees.

IonQ’s Technology

While many quantum hardware developers use “synthetic” quantum systems for their qubits, IonQ uses a naturally occurring quantum system: individual atoms as the quantum core in their hardware. The technology is based on a trapped ion architecture from Monroe and Kim’s partnership. 

IonQ converts the atoms into ions and uses a specialized linear ion trap chip to hold it in 3D space. About 100 microscopic electrodes are used in this tiny trap. The electrodes are lithographed, controlled to produce electromagnetic forces that hold our ions in place, and isolated from the surroundings to reduce ambient noise and decoherence. 

They fit several ions onto a linear chain, allowing them to hypothetically create a system with more than 100 qubits without having to make a new chip or modify the underlying technology. So far, they’ve performed single-qubit gates on chains of up to 79 ions and complex algorithms on chains of up to 11 ions. 

Before computing, the ions are cooled to reduce computational noise, followed by state preparation, which initializes each ion into a well-defined “zero” state, ready to perform algorithms. They compute using a series of operations called gates to manipulate the qubits’ state, first encoding and then operating on the information to be calculated.

IonQ Computers

So far, IonQ has launched two quantum computers, Harmony and Aria, using 11 and 32 qubits, respectively. Harmony came in 2019; the 11 qubits are fully connected, meaning you can run a two-qubit gate between any pair.

Aria was launched in August 2022 as IonQ’s most powerful device operating with 23 qubits. Aria successfully executed quantum circuits containing more than 550 gates, enabling the testing of increasingly complex quantum algorithms.

“The availability of both IonQ Aria and IonQ Harmony on the Azure Quantum platform ensures that enterprise customers and research institutions have a choice when it comes to selecting which quantum system is best suited for their specific needs,” “Using our systems to entangle any pair of qubits is a capability that is unique at this scale and which enables faster and more accurate execution of quantum algorithms.”

Peter Chapman, President, and CEO, IonQ.


IonQ began in 2015 with a $2 million seed funding from New Enterprise Associates, NEA. In 2017, they raised $20M in a Series A fund led by NEA and Google ventures. In 2019, they received an additional $55 million in a Series B round led by Samsung and Mubadala.

In June 2020, IonQ raised $7M in another Series B round led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital with support from Lockheed Martin Ventures and Cambium Capital Partners. Its latest funding was in October 2021 when Time Ventures led a $350M Post-IPO Equity fund alongside Silver Lake, New Enterprise Associates, and seven other investors.


In November 2021, IonQ partnered with Microsoft to make IonQ’s quantum computers commercially available via the cloud, allowing users to leverage IonQ’s unique approach to quantum computing. That same month, they announced their collaboration with Multiverse Computing to enable financial services organizations to model risk more accurately and quickly using the IonQ Quantum Cloud platform within Singularity, Multiverse’s financial solution.

In April 2022, IonQ announced a partnership with automobile maker Hyundai to apply quantum machine learning to image classification and 3D object detection for future mobilities. Before then, the two companies were working on developing new variational quantum eigensolver algorithms to study lithium compounds and their chemical reactions involved in battery chemistry

This project is a critical component of Hyundai’s Strategy 2025 targets, which include selling 560,000 EVs per year and introducing consumers to more than 12 battery electric car variants.

IonQ’s Stock Price

IonQ was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2021, making them the world’s first public pure-play quantum computing company. November 19 that year, their stock price pumped to $28.01 and fell to $18.78 on December 3, the same year. IonQ stock price spiked for the first time in 2022 on February 11 and sold at $16.72. By March 18, stocks sold at $14.36 and fell to $7.87 on April 29.  The current stock price is $5.28.

About The CEO, Peter Chapman

Peter Chapman is the CEO, President, and Member of the Board of IonQ, a position he’s held since May 2019. He is a former director of engineering at Amazon Prime, where he led the team in charge of Prime’s 2-day delivery.

Chapman has over 40 years of experience in software engineering, with the original sound card for computers to his credit. He also developed the US Federal Aviation Administration software to prevent mid-air collisions. He has successfully founded and led many companies to exit.

The Future 

IonQ is launching Forte in 2023. This device will provide a significant improvement in terms of performance, adaptability, and accuracy. 

IonQ Forte applies logic gates between the 32 qubits in the ion chain by using ytterbium ions and integrating highly sophisticated acoustic-optic deflectors (AODs).

By reducing noise and residual light on nearby qubits, this method gives the laser beams extraordinary accuracy and stability, resulting in improved fidelity and dependability.

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