Intel created a superconducting test chip for quantum computing

A man out of focus holds a small square with gold bumps

Intel's director of quantum hardware holds the 17-qubit chip

As Quantum computing is the next big technological revolution, the company is moving toward production system to deliver it to spec and to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. "The delivery underscores the importance of material science and semiconductor manufacturing in realising the promise of quantum computing". Intel fabricated the chip with a unique design to improve yield and performance, the Santa Clara chip maker said.

According to Intel, the building blocks of quantum computing, qubits, are very fragile. Packaging is another huge aspect of quantum computing, as qubits have an operating temperature of around 20 millikelvin (about "250 times colder than deep space", Intel notes).

Intel's research teams in OR and Arizona have identified a way that will make the manufacturing of 17-qubits with and architecture chips more reliable at higher temperatures and also reduce RF interference between each qubit.

A scalable interconnect scheme that allows for 10-100 times more signals into and out of the chip as compared to wire-bonded chips. "Intel's expertise in fabrication, control electronics and architecture sets us apart and will serve us well as we venture into new computing paradigms, from neuromorphic to quantum computing". It has demonstrated circuit blocks for an integrated cryogenic CMOS control system, spin qubit fabrication on a 300mm process and packaging for superconducting qubits. Together, the two committed to pushing forward with quantum computing research, but ever since then, we haven't heard much about their progress.

Intel's work with QuTech, an advanced research center for quantum computing and quantum internet founded by TU Delft and TNO, began in 2015. In the past, Intel have been quite content to leave parallel computing to the GPU giants - AMD and Nvidia - although quantum computing may offer the processor behemoth another shot at the computational heavyweights. All of these elements are essential to advancing quantum computing from research to reality. In the video above, you can see Intel and QuTech unbox the chip and explain the process of creating it. These spin qubits resemble a single electron transistor similar in many ways to conventional transistors and potentially able to be manufactured with comparable processes.

In the race to build a quantum computer, companies around the world are making progress - albeit, slowly.

Latest News