- IonQ Inc. and Quantinuum Ltd., two well-known quantum computing companies, also use trapped ions and rely on systems of lasers to control the qubits.
- Niels Nielsen, one of the people who started 2xN, said that he is backing Oxford Ionics because the quantum computing industry needs a way to make a lot of qubit technologies.
Oxford Ionics Ltd., a British company that makes quantum computers, recently said that it has raised USD 30 million in an early-stage funding round led by some of the world’s top investors in quantum technology.
The Series A round was led by Oxford Science Enterprises and Bravoos Investment Advisers. Lansdowne Partners, Torch Partners, Prosus Ventures, 2xN, and the founder of semiconductor giant Arm Ltd., Hermann Hauser, also took part. It brings the total amount the company has raised to USD 37 million.
Oxford Ionics was started in 2019 by Chris Ballance and Tom Harty, who got their Ph.D.s from the University of Oxford. They are taking a unique approach to designing and scaling up what they say is the most promising quantum computing technology in the world.
Trapped ions is the name of the technology in question. It is a way to store and change quantum information. Ions, which are charged atoms, are what it runs on, and they are also basis of its quantum bits, or qubits, are made of. Ions are different from other particles because they can be held in place in three dimensions by an electric field. This means that magnetic fields, lasers, or microwave radiation from the outside can be used to control the qubits.
IonQ Inc. and Quantinuum Ltd., two well-known quantum computing companies, also use trapped ions and rely on systems of lasers to control the qubits. But Oxford Ionics says that lasers work well with small processors. But as processors get bigger and more qubits are added, they have trouble and make more mistakes.
To get around this, Oxford Ionics has made a new technology called “Electronic Qubit Control” that it uses to control trapped ions without making any noise. It uses a combination of photonics and microwaves, which the company says is a much more stable method than using lasers. So, it says, it’s been able to scale up its quantum processors in a way that has never been done before.
It has developed qubits out of ions that are trapped on the surface of a regular microchip. This means that they can be put into any kind of device. Through a partnership with Infineon Technologies AG, a company that makes semiconductors, Oxford Ionics has already shown that this method could work. Oxford Ionics will use its EQC technology and Infineon’s engineering, manufacturing, and quantum technology skills as part of the partnership.
Oxford Ionics has said that its goal is to build fully integrated devices that can scale up to hundreds of qubits in the next two years. This will make it possible to sell quantum processing units with hundreds of qubits in the market in about five years.
What’s great about Oxford Ionics’ technology is that it’s not just a theory. In tests, it has set world records for the highest-performing quantum operations, the longest quantum coherence time, and the most powerful quantum network. It also says that using quantum chips made on a standard semiconductor production line, it has shown the best performance ever seen.
Ballance stated, “If we’re to identify and unlock the true power and potential of quantum computing we need to crack the critical issues that are holding it back – scalability, integration and performance. Our unique trapped-ion approach has been developed to address all three. At Oxford Ionics, we’re focused on building technologies that will help quantum computing finish the race, not just take small, incremental steps.”
The startup said that the money from this funding round will help it grow and speed up research and development, mostly by hiring more people. It wants to grow its team by hiring a lot of software developers, engineers, designers, and scientists.
Niels Nielsen, one of the people who started 2xN, said that he is backing Oxford Ionics because the quantum computing industry needs a way to make a lot of qubit technologies. He added, “Oxford Ionics’ EQC technology offers a path to bringing the power and potential of trapped ion qubits and integrating it into classical semiconductor processes.”