The company was founded in 2018 by Professor Winfried Hensinger and Sebastian Weidt and said it intends to build the world’s first large-scale quantum computer with Hensinger as chief scientist and chairman and Weidt as CEO.
Hensinger and Weidt have developed an approach to quantum computing based on trapped ions to carry out calculations using microwave technology (see Blueprint for a microwave trapped-ion quantum computer).
The two researchers claim this has an advantage over electronic quantum computing, which generally requires temperatures close to absolute zero, and optical computing, which generally requires large numbers of light beams.
However, trapped-ion quantum computing still requires intense cooling to -200 degrees C for operation. The company claims this temperature is “much easier to obtain” and allows scale up to millions of qubits. Universal Quantum has also developed a modular approach based on fast electric-field links connecting individual modules, enabling the company to scale-up to practical quantum computers that are able to process millions of qubits.
The amount of funding the company has received is small compared with some that have moved earlier. Rigetti & Co Inc. (Berkeley, Calif.), which was founded in 2013, has raised more than $190 million but lies behind PsiQuantum Corp. (Palo Alto, Calif.), a photonics quantum computing company that has raised $215 million.
Universal Quantum said it expects to stage a Series A round of funding within the next twelve months.
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