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PsiQuantum announced the opening of its UK-based advanced R&D facility at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory in the north west of England. This effort is backed by £9M of funding from the UK government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), and gives PsiQuantum access to one of Europe’s largest liquid-helium (approx. -270°C) cryogenic plants.
PsiQuantum has teamed up with STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory to develop the next generation of high-power cryogenic modules which will be necessary to scale photonic quantum computers to millions of qubits. PsiQuantum will work with Daresbury Laboratory experts specialized in large-scale cryogenic infrastructure to develop advanced cryogenic systems.
This partnership will deliver quantum computing subsystems with the highest cryogenic cooling power deployed to date, representing a major step towards large-scale quantum computers capable of solving commercially relevant problems.
PsiQuantum is building an error-corrected quantum computer which harnesses the quantum mechanical properties of single particles of light (photons). Like all leading quantum computing efforts, this requires cryogenic cooling but the advantage of a photonic approach is that the cooling requirements are far less demanding. PsiQuantum’s approach requires cryogenic cooling to operate extremely sensitive single-photon detectors, which are used to read the state of the photonic qubit.
These devices operate at temperatures just a few degrees above absolute zero – equivalent to the temperature of deep space. Although cold, the operating temperature is hundreds of times hotter than the milli-Kelvin temperatures required by many other quantum computing technologies, thus circumventing the unprecedented challenge of developing large-scale milli-Kelvin dilution refrigeration.
Working with STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory will increase PsiQuantum’s cryogenic capabilities 100-fold, with single cryogenic modules capable of delivering 100W of cooling power at liquid-helium temperatures. In addition to supporting larger arrays of quantum chips, this additional cooling power will allow PsiQuantum to implement power-hungry features that are essential for scaling-up quantum computers, including chip-to-chip networking and integrated control electronics.
This collaboration between PsiQuantum, STFC and the UK National Quantum Computing Centre will accelerate PsiQuantum’s roadmap by leveraging the UK’s well-established infrastructure and skill-base, including:
- Collaboration with UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
- Access to one of Europe’s largest liquid-helium cryogenic plants
- Access to SciTech Daresbury’s large-scale R&D engineering facilities and workshops
- Cryogenic module development - providing 100W of cooling power
- Access to highly-skilled UK talent and knowledge in cryogenic engineering
- £9M of funding from the UK government (DSIT)
Mark Thompson, Chief Technologist and Co-Founder at PsiQuantum, said: “We are very excited to be setting up a lab in the UK in collaboration with the STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory. The UK has a long history in quantum technologies and a talent pool of exceptional quantum engineers. The STFC team and facilities are world class, with a deep history of accomplishments in large-scale scientific infrastructure. Access to existing cryogenic infrastructure and expertise accelerates PsiQuantum’s mission to deliver a large-scale quantum computer.”
Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said, “Attracting companies like PsiQuantum to our shores to build new research facilities like this one in Daresbury will transform the way we tackle many of the challenges facing us today, from ground-breaking medicinal discoveries to tackling climate change.
“The establishment of this facility is a huge vote of confidence in the UK’s unrivalled expertise in innovation, demonstrating how the UK is spearheading crucial breakthroughs in quantum technologies.”
Dr Michael Cuthbert, Director of the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) said, “It is great to see PsiQuantum recognise the strengths of the UK’s quantum ecosystem and set up here to work with our leading talent and companies. The NQCC look forward to collaborating with PsiQuantum to support the development of fault tolerant quantum computing, strengthening the UK supply chain and maturing the UK user community.”
Dr Neil Geddes, Executive Director, National Laboratories, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said, “We are pleased that PsiQuantum has chosen to locate at STFC's Daresbury Laboratory, where they will capitalise on our existing cryogenic infrastructure and expertise in their mission to deliver a large-scale quantum computer. Their investment will strengthen the tech cluster in the North West, creating supply chain and collaborative opportunities for other businesses.”
Paul Vernon, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said, “PsiQuantum is a shining example of how STFC is supporting pioneering businesses in their mission to develop the technologies that have the potential to change the world we live in, to transform industry and change our lives for the better.
"I am really excited to welcome PsiQuantum to Daresbury Laboratory, where our cutting-edge technologies, facilities and expertise are contributing towards what could be a critical milestone in quantum computing for the world."