PsiQuantum in $22.5m contract to build quantum computer

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

PsiQuantum has signed a $22.5m contract with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to develop a large photonic quantum computer.

PsiQuantum, based in the US, is building an error-corrected, utility-scale photonic quantum computer with existing, mature semiconductor manufacturing capabilities to accelerate the path to scale.

“The deep silicon photonics expertise of PsiQuantum is critical in our mission to not only accelerate the advancement and deployment of quantum information science, but in developing capabilities to meet the needs of the emerging national security landscape,” said Dr. Michael Hayduk, Deputy Director at AFRL. “The partnership with PsiQuantum supports both the United States Department of Defense’s and AFRL’s missions of pursuing long-term, broad-based research programs that ultimately lead to world-changing applications across multiple industries.”

“Photonic quantum computing has long been an underappreciated approach to delivering a quantum computer,” said PsiQuantum co-founder and CEO Jeremy O’Brien. “Now, as the world is converging on the conclusion that useful applications will require large-scale systems involving networking and mature semiconductor manufacturing, photonics is coming to the fore in the global race for utility-scale quantum computing. We are working with the group at AFRL, who are distinguished in having long been fellow travelers in the field of quantum photonics.”

In May 2021, PsiQuantum and GlobalFoundries developed the first manufacturable single photon detector in a silicon chip. The detector is the component that is used to read out the value of the qubit, i.e. whether it is in a “zero” or “one” state. PsiQuantum is now able to manufacture large numbers of these detectors using the GlobalFoundries foundry.

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