Oxford Ionics has raised $30 million to build highly scalable quantum processors based on trapped ions

A British startup in the field of quantum computing Oxford Ionics Ltd. It said today that it has raised $30 million in an early-stage funding round led by some of the world’s quantum technology investors.

The first round, led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Bravoos Investment Advisers, also saw participation from Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, 2xN, Torch Partners and Hermann Hauser, founder of semiconductor giant Arm Ltd. to $37 million.

It was founded in 2019 by a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. Alumni Chris Palance and Tom Harty, Oxford Ionics is taking a unique approach to designing and scaling what it says is the world’s most promising quantum computing technology.

The technology involved is trapping ions, which refers to a technology for storing and processing quantum information. They are based on ions, which are charged atoms, and form the basis of quantum bits, or qubits. The ions are unique in that they can be trapped in 3D traps at specific locations using an electric field. This makes it possible to manipulate qubits using external magnetic fields, lasers, or microwave radiation.

Some of the notable quantum computing companies, incl IonQ Inc. And Quantinum Ltd., also used trapped ions, relying on laser systems to control qubits. However, Oxford Ionics says that although lasers work well with smaller processors, they struggle and become more error-prone as processors get larger and more qubits are added.

To get around this, Oxford Ionics created Noiseless Novel Qubit Electronic Control technology which it uses to manipulate trapped ions. More specifically, it uses a combination of photonics and microwaves — an approach the company says is far more stable than using lasers. As a result, she says, it has been able to scale up its quantum processors to an unprecedented degree.

The qubits it developed consist of ions trapped on the surface of a standard chip, which means they can be integrated into any type of device. Already, Oxford Ionics has demonstrated the potential of this approach through a partnership with semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies AG. The collaboration will see Oxford Ionics combine EQC technology with Infineon’s engineering and manufacturing skills and quantum technology expertise.

Oxford Ionics said its goal is to build fully integrated devices capable of scaling to hundreds of qubits within the next two years, paving the way for commercial manufacture of quantum processing units powered by hundreds of qubits in about five years.

The impressive thing is that Oxford Ionics technology is not just theoretical. In the tests, she amassed world records for Higher performance quantum operationsthe The longest quantum coherence time and the The best performing quantum network. In addition, she says, she has Achieve Highest performance ever demonstrated using quantum chips built on a standard semiconductor production line.

“If we are to identify and unleash the true power and potential of quantum computing, we need to solve the critical issues holding it back — scalability, integration, and performance,” Palance said. “Our unique approach to addressing all trapped ions has been developed. At Oxford Ionics, we focus on building technologies that will help quantum computing finish the race, not just taking small, incremental steps.”

The startup said funding from today’s round will help support its expansion and accelerate research and development, primarily through new hires. It is looking forward to adding many more software developers, engineers, designers and scientists to its team.

2xN co-founder Niels Nielsen said he supports Oxford Ionics because the quantum computing industry needs a way to build qubit technologies at scale. “Oxford Ionics’ EQC technology provides a path to bring the power and potential of trapped ion qubits and integrate them into classical semiconductor operations,” he said.

Photo: Oxford Ionics

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