Quantum technology startup Q.ANT and the Institute for Microelectronics Stuttgart (IMS CHIPS) signed an agreement to jointly manufacture quantum photonic chips. Chips for quantum processors are expected to be produced in small batches within two years. Q.ANT will contribute machines, process technology, and technological expertise in quantum computing in an initial investment worth €14 million ($15.3 million).
According to Q.ANT managing director Michael Förtsch, Q.ANT and IMS CHIPS will set up a complete series-targeted chip manufacturing facility in Stuttgart, starting with small-scale production of quantum chips to initially cover their own demand for quantum processors. “In the future, however, we would also like to offer the chips on the market in large-scale production,” he said.
In addition to cleanroom production space with appropriate equipment, IMS CHIPS also brings experts with experience in industrial-scale manufacturing to the effort. In return, the startup invests in manufacturing capacity and equipment geared toward quantum technologies. For IMS, which is a foundation of the state of Baden-Württemberg, the cooperation offers the opportunity to advance research and development activities.
In contrast to many other quantum computing solutions, which operate at cryogenic temperatures to minus 273 °C, the photonic chips of Q.ANT are operated at room temperature. This significantly simplifies integration into existing computing architectures. For its chips, Q.ANT relies on a specially developed technology platform with the material lithium niobate, which is well suited for photonic quantum computing due to its electro-optical properties. Potential fields of application range from medical technology, sensor technology, and telecommunications to cryptography, logistics, and the financial sector.