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PsiQuantum announces UK-based research facility at STFC’s Daresbury Lab

08 Mar 2023

Aim is to develop new high-power cryogenic systems for quantum computing applications.

Quantum computing developer PsiQuantum has announced the opening of its UK-based advanced R&D facility at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, UK.

This effort is backed by £9 million ($10.6 million) of funding from the UK Government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and gives PsiQuantum access to one of Europe’s largest liquid-helium cryogenic plants (which can achieve temperatures as low as -270°C).

‘Millions of qubits’

PsiQuantum has teamed up with Daresbury Lab to develop the next generation of high-power cryogenic modules which will be necessary to scale photonic quantum computers to millions of qubits. PsiQuantum will work with Daresbury Laboratory experts specialized in large-scale cryogenic infrastructure to develop advanced cryogenic systems.

The partnership is intended deliver quantum computing subsystems with the highest cryogenic cooling power deployed to date, which the partners say “would represent a major step towards large-scale quantum computers capable of solving commercially relevant problems.”

PsiQuantum is building an error-corrected quantum computer to harness the quantum mechanical properties of single photons. Like all leading quantum computing efforts, this requires cryogenic cooling but the advantage of a photonic approach is that the cooling requirements are far less demanding.

PsiQuantum’s approach requires cryogenic cooling to operate extremely sensitive single-photon detectors, which are used to read the state of the photonic qubit.

These devices operate at temperatures just a few degrees above absolute zero – equivalent to the temperature of deep space. Although cold, the operating temperature is hundreds of times hotter than the milli-Kelvin temperatures required by many other quantum computing technologies.

Working with STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory will increase PsiQuantum’s cryogenic capabilities 100-fold, with single cryogenic modules capable of delivering 100W of cooling power at liquid-helium temperatures.

In addition to supporting larger arrays of quantum chips, this additional cooling power will allow PsiQuantum to implement power-hungry features that are essential for scaling-up quantum computers, including chip-to-chip networking and integrated control electronics.

Infrastructure features

This collaboration between PsiQuantum, STFC and the UK National Quantum Computing Centre will accelerate PsiQuantum’s roadmap by leveraging the UK’s well-established infrastructure and skill-base, including:

  • Collaboration with UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
  • Access to one of Europe’s largest liquid-helium cryogenic plants
  • Access to SciTech Daresbury’s large-scale R&D engineering facilities and workshops
  • Cryogenic module development - providing 100W of cooling power
  • Access to highly-skilled UK talent and knowledge in cryogenic engineering
  • £9M of funding from the UK government (DSIT)

Mark Thompson, Chief Technologist and Co-Founder at PsiQuantum, commented, “The UK has a long history in quantum technologies and a talent pool of exceptional quantum engineers. The STFC team and facilities are world class, with a deep history of accomplishments in large-scale scientific infrastructure. Access to existing cryogenic infrastructure and expertise accelerates PsiQuantum’s mission to deliver a large-scale quantum computer.”

Dr Michael Cuthbert, Director of the UK National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC), said, “The NQCC looks forward to collaborating with PsiQuantum to support the development of fault tolerant quantum computing, strengthening the UK supply chain and maturing the UK user community.”

Paul Vernon, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said, “PsiQuantum is a shining example of how STFC is supporting pioneering businesses in their mission to develop the technologies that have the potential to change the world we live in, to transform industry and change our lives for the better.”

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