Infineon: Research project on quantum computing
Infineon Technologies AG is working in the joint project "German Quantum Computer based on Superconducting Qubits" (GeQCoS) together with leading scientists from five research institutes in Germany to drive forward the development and industrialization of quantum computing. Europe’s leading semiconductor manufacturer is contributing its expertise in the industrial production of special semiconductor chips and from quantum computing approaches such as ion traps.
Due to their special features, quantum computers have the disruptive potential to replace existing conventional computers in specific applications. They could, for example, calculate simulations of complex molecules for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, complicated optimizations for the automotive and aviation industry, or new findings from the analysis of complex financial data. Quantum computers have so far been restricted to solving specific academic problems and basically demonstrating how they function. A suitable architecture for calculating practical problems requires further improvements on all levels, from the elementary hardware modules and the qubits, to the software and application.
The aim of the project, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research with 14.5 million euros, is to develop a groundbreaking quantum processor based on superconducting qubits and demonstrate its special capabilities on a prototype within four years. Working together to achieve this are scientists at the Walther Meißner Institute (WMI) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Technical University of Munich, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF), and Infineon.
"Quantum computing has reached the point where we now need to translate the science into practical application," says Sebastian Luber, Senior Director Technology & Innovation at Infineon. "This, however, requires improvements to the features of quantum processors, and it must become possible to manufacture them on an industrial scale. The trick is to move forward, even if it is not yet clear which technology is best suited. We look forward to working with top scientists in the field of quantum computing in Germany. Infineon is bringing its expertise as a semiconductor manufacturer to the project, highly skilled in scaling and manufacturing processes. Methods for the mass production of micro-structures, while maintaining consistent quality, are also needed for qubits," says Luber. Infineon has already developed a novel ion trap quantum processor chip together with experimental physicists from the University of Innsbruck and is collaborating with other partners to lay the foundation to spread and apply quantum technologies.
Setting the course for European value creation potential
"If we in Germany and Europe don’t want to be dependent for this future technology solely on American or Asian know-how, we must move forward with the industrialization now," explains Luber. Quantum computing and its wider application are still in their infancy. The course is now being set for who among the technology competitors will open up a new dimension with their own know-how to the digitalization of business and society. The value creation potential of applying quantum computing is many times greater than in the technology itself. The project lays the foundation for implementing the current federal initiative to build a quantum computer "made in Germany". The aim is to create a nationwide network for superconducting qubits in close cooperation between science and industry.
More details about the research project participants can be found in the annex.
Other Infineon activities
Infineon is involved in several consortia on quantum technologies, each pursuing different approaches. They include this project which, is focusing on super-conducting qubits, as well as the PIEDMONS ion trap-based and the QUASAR silicon-based quantum computer projects. Since 2017 Infineon has already been active as a pioneer in post-quantum cryptography, and is contributing to the development and standardization of quantum-safe cryptography methods. In the coming week, the company will be at the "24th Annual Conference on Quantum Information Processing" www.mcqst.de/qip2021/. The event is being held digitally in Munich from 1 to 5 February 2021.
Infineon Technologies AG is a world leader in semiconductor solutions that make life easier, safer and greener. Microelectronics from Infineon are the key to a better future. In the 2020 fiscal year (ending September 30), the company reported revenue of more than 8.5 billion euros with a workforce of 46,700 people worldwide. Following the acquisition of the US company Cypress Semiconductor Corporation in April 2020, Infineon is now a global top 10 semiconductor company.
Image: Chris Hohmann