Intel's Spin Qubits Set New Benchmark for Quantum Computing Performance

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  May 06, 2024

There’s a race underway to get the most out of quantum computing, especially when it can really transform fields like materials science, drug discovery and AI. In the middle of this race is the qubit, the quantum counterpart to the classical bit that forms the foundation of modern computers.

There’s an issue, though. Namely, it's that building a scalable quantum computer is no easy task. One of the key hurdles lies in achieving uniformity and high fidelity across large numbers of qubits, a critical requirement for fault-tolerant quantum systems.

With that said, recent advancements in silicon spin qubits (a promising type of qubit technology) looks to ease that challenge.

Intel (News - Alert), a well-known player in the semiconductor industry, recently made a breakthrough in this area, as detailed in a recent research paper published in Nature. The recent Intel research paper, "Probing single electrons across 300-mm spin qubit wafers," shows a leap in qubit uniformity, fidelity and measurement statistics. This achievement opens a path for mass production and further scaling of silicon-based quantum processors, crucial steps toward building fault-tolerant quantum computers.

Intel's quantum hardware team developed a 300-millimeter cryogenic probing process, which lets them gather extensive performance data on spin qubit devices across entire wafers using standard CMOS manufacturing techniques. This high-throughput testing process, combined with improved qubit yield, yielded a wealth of data for uniformity analysis, a critical factor in scaling up quantum computers.

Additionally, the research found that single-electron devices fabricated on these wafers achieved high performance as spin qubits with a 99.9% gate fidelity. Spin qubits, with their compact size (approximately 100 nanometers), offer greater density compared to other qubit types like superconductors. This allows for the construction of more complex quantum computers on a single chip. This fabrication feat was achieved using extreme ultraviolet lithography. In other words, Intel achieved these minute dimensions while maintaining high-volume manufacturing.

Building fault-tolerant quantum computers with millions of uniform qubits necessitates highly reliable fabrication processes. Intel, with its expertise in transistor manufacturing, is spearheading the creation of silicon spin qubits akin to transistors by utilizing its 300-millimeter CMOS manufacturing techniques, which routinely produce billions of transistors per chip.

And moving forward, Intel plans to use the findings of the report to further refine the techniques with goals to add more interconnect layers for fabricating 2D arrays with increased qubit count and connectivity, while also demonstrating high-fidelity two-qubit gates within its established manufacturing process.

It should be noted though that the primary focus remains scaling quantum devices and enhancing performance with the next generation quantum chip.

Edited by Alex Passett
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