Ion traps Quantum Computer Innovation Center Hamburg


We are building a user-friendly, reliable and scalable quantum processor with at least 50 qubits based on ion trap technology.

As part of the DLR Quantum Computing Initiative, we are building a trapped-ion quantum computer with an electronic quantum computer module based on silicon semiconductor and ion trapping chip technology. Quantum gates for computation can be implemented effectively by applying a voltage to a microchip. This quantum computer also has active error correction, which is crucial for the long-term development of quantum applications. One important feature of this quantum computer is its scalability: This system is initially designed for at least 50 qubits. Thanks to our architecture, we can network several modules to achieve several hundred qubits in order to increase the performance of this quantum computer. In the future, this could be extended to millions of qubits.


Ion trapping technology is considered to be one of the most mature approaches to building quantum computers. Since future applications of quantum computers are expected to require millions of qubits, we need scalable quantum computers. Our quantum computer uses a highly scalable, fully integrated quantum computer microchip module to run quantum gates on the qubits using our global field technology. With this system, there is no need to increase the required number of microwave fields – and thus the size of the technical superstructure – in order to increase the number of qubits. Our approach also allows modules to be connected like puzzle pieces to work with a large number of qubits. Furthermore, while many other quantum computers have to be cooled down to almost absolute zero (–273 degrees Celsius), our technique operates with mild cooling at approximately 70 Kelvin.


Our architecture enables global microwave field quantum gates to be implemented on a highly parallel system. The heart of our quantum computers is a fully integrated quantum computer module. This is based on a vertically integrated trapped-ion chip with an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), complete with low-noise digital-to-analogue converters (DACs). It was specifically designed for efficient ion shuttling and high-precision quantum gates. This module forms Universal Quantum’s integrated quantum processing unit (iQPU). The module is designed to operate at temperatures of approximately 70 Kelvin to simplify thermal management. The temperature reduces ion heating, ion loss and ultimately the error rate in quantum gate execution. The qubits are moved back and forth on the chip, resulting in high connectivity between the qubits and greatly increasing the computing power of the quantum computer.

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