Initiative for quantum computing development

2nd March 2021
Alex Lynn

Infineon Technologies has announced that it is once again participating as an industrial partner in further national and European funded projects. The technological race for better quantum computing technology is still open.

Essentially, scientists are pursuing three paths to the physical technical implementation of the crucial basic elements, the qubits: superconducting qubits, ion trap-based qubits and silicon-based spin qubits.

Infineon is researching and developing all three approaches with the potential for industrial implementation. It contributes its semiconductor and industrial expertise to several consortia on quantum technology, including the funded projects GEQCOS for superconducting qubits and PIEDMONS for ion trap-based quantum computing. Now the company is also collaborating in the QUASAR project, which focuses on silicon-based spin qubits.

This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding program ‘Quantum Technologies - from Basic Research to Market’ (contract number: 13N15656).

QUASAR aims to lay the foundations for the industrial production of quantum processors over the next four years. The goal is a semiconductor quantum processor based on the exchange of electrons (‘shuttle’) and to be realised with technology available in Germany. To this end, scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich, institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Leibniz Association, the universities in Regensburg and Konstanz, the quantum start-up HQS and Infineon Dresden are working together. The project is coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich.

"A key advantage is that silicon-based spin qubits are robust, fast and at the same time have excellent scaling potential," said Claus Dahl, Director Automotive Sense and Control at Infineon Dresden.

In silicon-based qubits, quantum information is encoded by the spin of electrons. These electrons are located at so-called quantum dots, special semiconductor structures in the nanometer range. Novel interconnect elements are to be used for the interaction between the qubits. These so-called quantum buses shall enable the transport of electrons in a controlled manner over distances of up to about ten micrometers without losing the quantum information. In collaboration with quantum scientists at RWTH Aachen University, Infineon has already developed process engineering approaches for a scalable architecture for corresponding quantum processors.

In addition, Infineon Dresden is participating in the Quantum Large-Scale Integration with Silicon (QLSI) project of the European Quantum Flagship, which started in September 2020. Together with partners from the QUASAR project and other European institutions, Infineon is researching an industry-compatible fabrication approach for semiconductor qubits. The QLSI project is coordinated by the French research institute for electronics and information technology CEA-Leti.

"In close cooperation between academic and industrial research, we want to raise the quality in the fabrication of quantum devices to an industry-compatible level in these projects. After all, only by using industrial standard processes of CMOS technology to a large extent, the challenges in process integration can be mastered when scaling up to a complex product," explains Dahl.

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 industrialisation now,” said Sebastian Luber, Senior Director Technology & Innovation at Infineon. Quantum computing and its wider application are still in their infancy.

“The course is now being set for the technology competitors to differentiate a new dimension with their own know-how to the digitalisation of business and society. The value creation potential of applying quantum computing is many times greater than in the technology itself. Infineon’s research projects play a major role in laying the foundation for implementing the current federal initiative to build a quantum computer “made in Germany”.

Partners of the QUASAR project

HQS Quantum Simulations GmbH is a KIT spin-off with 18 employees and focuses on quantum mechanical material simulations. HQS cooperates with companies such as BASF, BOSCH and Merck in the materials and chemicals sector.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics develops hardware for quantum technology and electronic systems. The core competencies range from materials research, design and technology development, (cryogenic) measurement technology to circuits and systems.

The Leibniz Institute for Innovative Microelectronics conducts research and development on silicon-based high-frequency circuits and technologies, including new materials. It also offers prototype manufacturing via its 200 mm line.

The Leibniz Institute of Crystal Growth specialises in the growth of solid crystals, epitaxial thin films and nanostructures. The development and characterisation of isotopically pure 28Si crystals deserves special mention.

Infineon Dresden has two highly automated production lines covering about 50 different technologies. The Infineon Technolgies is strategically involved in post-quantum cryptography as well as various quantum hardware concepts such as ion traps, superconductors and approaches based on SiGe quantum wells. The latter are being investigated at the Dresden site.

Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT is working on innovative devices and technologies with the aim of integrating them into CMOS platforms. It has more than 40 industry-standard process facilities and comprehensive analytics as well as close links to the production lines of industrial project partners.

The JARA Institute for Information has locations at Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University. The experimental group led by Prof. Hendrik Bluhm and Dr. Lars Schreiber has many years of experience in fabrication, coherent manipulation and modeling of semiconductor qubits. One of the research focuses is on their scalability.

The Chair of Condensed Materie Theory and Quantum Information at the University of Konstanz, led by Prof. Guido Burkard, has long been conducting research in the fields of quantum computing in solid-state systems, in particular spins in semiconductors, and two-dimensional materials.

The "Epitaxial Nanostructures" group at the University of Regensburg (UR) led by Prof. Dominique Bougeard investigates quantum effects in semiconductor nanostructures. The focus is on molecular beam epitaxy, nanooptics and electrical, quantum transport and in particular 28Si/SiGe-based hybrid structures as well as spin qubits.

Partners of the QLSI project

  • Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives
  • Technische Universiteit Delft
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
  • Interuniversitair Micro-Electronica Centrum vzw
  • Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek TNO
  • Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University College London
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • University of Basel
  • University of Twente
  • Hitachi
  • University of Konstanz
  • IHP Leibniz-Institut für Innovative Mikroelektronik
  • STMicrolectronics SA
  • Infineon Technologies Dresden
  • Quantum Motion Technologies

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