Answering the scalability quandary in quantum computing, Oxford Ionics raises £30 million

In the world of quantum computing, the trapped ion-based solution is winning the race, yet, is fraught with complexities. Oxford Ionics has removed these hurdles and is ready to scale
Answering the scalability quandary in quantum computing, Oxford Ionics raises £30 million

As the name suggests, Oxford-based Oxford Ionics has raised £30 million in a Series A funding round aimed at accelerating the adoption of the startups' answer to the scalability problem facing the field of quantum computing.

The round was led by existing investor Oxford Science Enterprises and Braavos Investment Advisers, with Lansdowne Partners, Prosus Ventures, Torch Partners, ARM founder Hermann Hauser, and 2xN participating.

To cut to the chase on this one, what Oxford Ionics has accomplished is nothing short of one small step for quantum computers, one giant leap for the widespread adoption of quantum computing.

While there are a number of ways to shake a stick at a qubit, the fundamental building block behind quantum computing, the most successful approaches to date have involved those employing a trapped ion approach. 

In this application, stable electronic states of charged atomic particles, aka ‘ions’, are used to store qubits, with quantum information transferred via an orchestrated motion of ions in a shared trap. In order to harness the power and potential inherent in qubit-based computing, these two-state quantum-mechanical systems need to be coupled with other qubits. In a trapped ion approach, expensive and complex lasers are needed to perform the task.

Other than expensive and complex, problems that can surely be solved over time, seems fairly straightforward, right? Well, yes, and no. Other than the cost and complexity, this approach performs well for small processors but becomes fraught with errors as the size of the processor scales, and the number of qubits increases. 

What Oxford Ionics has done is remove the need for the lasers to control qubits with its patented Electronic Qubit Control (EQC) system. Without giving away the secret, Oxford Ionics reveals that the EQC system combines, “the best of photonic and microwave technology” and allows for the manipulation of qubits, “with negligible noise and unmatched reliability.”

Ion trap wafer with chip designs provided by Oxford Ionics, fabricated by Infineon. Each wafer contains ca. 700 ion trap chips.

In so much, an Oxford Ionics processor can be integrated into any semiconductor chip, thus enabling any of the current semiconductor fabs around the world to manufacture these chips, at scale, instantly.

“If we’re to identify and unlock the true power and potential of quantum computing we need to crack the critical issues that are holding it back – scalability, integration, and performance. Our unique trapped-ion approach has been developed to address all three. At Oxford Ionics, we’re focused on building technologies that will help quantum computing finish the race, not just take small, incremental steps,” commented Oxford Ionics co-founder Dr. Chris Ballance. 

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