Scientists utilise diamonds to create a hybrid quantum processor

A research team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF (FIASSP) has coordinated with 28 partners to employ diamonds to create a hybrid quantum processor.

As quantum computer technology continues to expand, scientists from (FIASSP) have conducted a project known as ‘SPINNING’ (diamond spin-photon-based quantum computer). Within this project, national experts from science and industry are working on a compact, scalable hybrid quantum processor based on spin qubits in diamond that can be connected to classical computers.

By employing this approach, the project intends to make an important contribution to the German quantum technology ecosystem.

The BMBF is contributing €16.1m to the project.

How will this hybrid quantum processor be created?

Project SPINNING launched in January 2022 and aims to develop the demonstrator of a quantum processor in Germany, as well as the peripherals needed to connect the processor to classical computer systems.

The project is intended to last for three years, and scientists intend to successfully develop the planned hardware features, longer operation times, and smaller error rates, as well as low cooling requirements.

The hybrid quantum processor will initially be able to compute with 10, and then potentially it can subsequently compute with 100 qubits and more. As a result, it would thus be able to predict the products of complex quantum chemical reactions. 

Quantum computers have the potential to solve computational problems that classical computers can only solve with simplifications, approximations, or in very long computing times. The computing power depends on the central hardware element, the qubit.

Currently, there are various approaches to realise qubits and quantum computers, their development is still in an experimental stage. Therefore, discovering innovative approaches for compact and scalable hybrid quantum processors is crucial to achieve a reliable application of quantum computers. 

Scientists expect outstanding connectivity and configurability with this technology

Within the framework of SPINNING, the project partners are exploring and demonstrating a hybrid quantum processor that is both scalable and universal, based on spin qubits in diamond. This features a novel networked and hybrid design.

“One of the goals of our work is to ensure reliable operation of such an innovative quantum computer and to create a periphery to make the computing power available to a broad group of users, for example via cloud computing,” explained Professor Dr Rüdiger Quay, project coordinator of SPINNING, and executive director of Fraunhofer IAF.

In simple quantum circuits, the quantum volume is utilised to compare the performance of platforms—it results from the number of qubits, their error rate, and their connectivity.

The latter is an often-neglected key parameter, which specifies the number of directly addressable neighbouring qubits and the possibility of coupling qubits over large distances.

SPINNING also considers this parameter and provides a design that features unprecedented connectivity and flexible configurations. Additionally, the quantum processor is able to operate with low cooling requirements and thus may be implemented in close proximity to classical computer systems.

Who is involved in this project?

Fraunhofer IAF is leading the SPINNING conglomerate consisting of six universities, two non-profit research institutions, five industrial companies (SMEs and spin-offs), and 14 associated partners (10 of them are companies).  

All participants are highly active in the field of pre-competitive hardware, firmware, software development, and are as follows:

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF (coordinator);
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB;
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH;
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT);
  • University of Konstanz;
  • Heidelberg University;
  • Technical University of Munich;
  • Ulm University;
  • Diamond Materials GmbH, Freiburg im Breisgau;
  • NVision Imaging Technologies GmbH, Ulm;
  • Qinu GmbH, Karlsruhe;
  • University of Stuttgart;
  • Quantum Brilliance GmbH, Stuttgart;
  • Swabian Instruments GmbH, Stuttgart;
  • 14 associated Partners from science and industry; and
  • The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the “SPINNING” project within the program quantum technologies – from basic research to market (grant agreement number: 13N16209).

What is Fraunhofer IAF?

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF is one of the world’s leading research institutions in the fields of III-V semiconductors and synthetic diamond.

Based on these materials, Fraunhofer IAF develops components for future-oriented technologies, such as electronic circuits for innovative communication and mobility solutions, laser systems for real-time spectroscopy, novel hardware components for quantum computing as well as quantum sensors for industrial applications.

With its research and development, the Freiburg research institute covers the entire value chain – from materials research, design and processing to modules, systems, and demonstrators.

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