The Leipzig-based quantum start-up SaxonQ has delivered the first quantum computer of the SuNQC project to us. It is a four-qubit system based on NV centers in diamond. Our hardware team will perform acceptance testing on the device over the next few weeks before it is put into operation for our application projects.
This first handover is an important milestone for SaxonQ and the SuNQC project on the way to the major project goal – the development of a prototype NV quantum processor with more than 32 qubits, which is scalable and perspectively error-correctable, and on which algorithms with a high level of user-friendliness can be executed.
The DLR Quantum Computing Initiative commissions companies to develop complete systems with all the hardware and software required for operation. Payment is made after the previously defined development and delivery milestones have been reached. In the SuNQC project, for example, these are several work packages for the delivery of specific hardware and the achievement of important developmental stages.
In this way, the number of qubits, their quality and the functionality of the control software can be gradually increased and improved. Our industrial partners also benefit from a stable supply of funding and a longer-term vision.
From the manual through to gate quality
The first step is now almost complete – the production of a demonstrator with four qubits and a simple user interface for performing individual operations. The final acceptance tests follow after delivery and handover to us. Our hardware project managers check whether the delivered system meets all quality criteria. This ranges from a visual check (is the size correct?) to an examination of the manual to complex questions such as compliance with gate qualities and the correctness of the test protocols. Only when all criteria have been met and all open questions have been answered will we take delivery of the device, pay the milestone and put it into operation at the Innovation Center Ulm.
In the same way as our other quantum computers, these first NV-center quantum computers will quickly be made available to our application teams for use and testing (the access software is being developed by our CLIQUE application project). Based on the expertise of DLR users, our industrial partners will in turn gain valuable insights into the practicality and improvement of the hardware and software of their systems.
The special feature of the DLR QCI approach is that, through the joint development of hardware, software and applications in a partnership linking industry and research, the entire ecosystem benefits.
SuNQC is one of two NV-center quantum computer projects we commissioned from start-ups last year. The other is the XQi project with our contractor XeedQ, whose first quantum computer, XQ1i, was delivered to the Innovation Center Ulm in May. Then there are the QCI DIAQ, STARQ and SQUAp projects, with whose spin-enabling technologies we are sustainably strengthening the NV-center ecosystem in Germany and Europe.