Paul van Gerven
30 November 2020

Lionix has assisted researchers at the ETH Zurich to build a scalable version of the so-called trapped-ion quantum computer. In this approach to quantum computing, one of the first to put into practice, super-cooled ions are confined and suspended using electromagnetic fields to be used as qubits. The quantum states of the particles are manipulated with lasers, which requires extremely carefully aligned optics to deliver the light to the ions. The Enschede-based photonics company fabricated a photonic integrated circuit that does just that.

The completed ion trap chip with electrical and optical interfaces added by the team at ETH. Credit: K. Metha/ETH Zurich

Scaling low-noise qubits to numbers that are large enough to perform useful computations is currently a hot topic in quantum computing. Ion trapping is one contender for a viable quantum processor, but precise and noise-free light delivery, as well as the need for careful optical system configuration are major barriers for scaling. Lionix managed to remove these barriers using its Triplex integrated photonics platform.

Triplex is also used to make a quantum processor for another Enschede-based company: Quix, which is working on a photonic quantum processor.