Quantum Motion raises $50.5M to build scalable quantum computers

Quantum Motion raises $50.5M to build scalable quantum computers

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London-based quantum computing startup Quantum Motion Ltd. has secured £42 million, or $50.5 million, in fresh funding.

Quantum Motion announced the funding late Monday. According to the startup, the investment was led by industrial giant Robert Bosch AG. Automaker Porsche SE participated as well along with British Patient Capital and a half-dozen existing backers.

“The support of leading technology investors enables us to realise our vision of a quantum computer built using standard foundry processes,” said Quantum Motion Chief Executive Officer James Palles-Dimmock. “This support, along with the continuing U.K. national quantum programme and European initiatives, provides a step-change in our capabilities. We have assembled a world leading team and with the funding and support in place, we are ready to scale and deliver on our vision.”

Quantum Motion is developing silicon-based quantum processors that can be produced at existing chip plants, or fabs. The startup uses CMOS technology to produce its processors. CMOS is a semiconductor manufacturing method commonly used to make memory chips, as well as devices such as mobile modems that process radio signals. 

Quantum Motion’s first processor, Bloomsbury, has a surface area of three square millimeters. It uses quantum dots as qubits. A quantum dot is a compact semiconducting structure, usually measuring a few nanometers across, that can manipulate electricity and light.

Conventional chips such as central processing units store data in the form of electricity. Quantum Motion’s Bloomsbury chip also stores data as electricity, but with a different approach than traditional computers. 

Bloomsbury encodes data into the spin of individual electrons. Spin is a property of subatomic particles that can be both measured and modified, which makes it useful for storing information. A qubit’s different spin states correspond to different data values.

Quantum Motion’s Bloomsbury chip comprises 1028 quantum dots, each of which contains an electron that functions as a qubit. During a test held last year, the startup managed to read the information stored by a Bloomsbury chip’s qubits in 12 minutes. Quantum Motion says that it set a new industry speed record in the process.

The ability to measure the data in qubits quickly is necessary for many foundational computing tasks, such as reading the results of calculations. Speeding up the process can improve the performance of quantum computers.

According to Quantum Motion, the rapid speed at which its Bloomsbury processor can be measured is the result of a new chip design approach. Usually, the task of measuring qubits is carried out with a large number of wires integrated into a quantum chip. Quantum Motion says that Bloomsbury uses only nine wires.

According to the startup, another benefit of its approach is that it could simplify the development of large-scale quantum machines. Reducing the number of wires in a quantum chip frees up space that can be used to add more qubits. Increasing the number of qubits, in turn, increases performance. 

Quantum Motion will use its newly closed $50.5 million funding round to support its development efforts. The company plans to triple the size of its London headquarters, as well as work more closely with manufacturing partners. 

Photo: Quantum Motion

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