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Innovate UK Partnerships for the Scale-up of Quantum Computers

Earlier this month, Oxford Instruments NanoScience announced its partnership in three major projects funded through Innovate UK’s ‘Commercialising Quantum Technologies’ category with SEEQC, Quantum Motion and SureCore. Oxford Instruments NanoScience’s Director of Engineering, Matthew Martin, shares an overview of each project, including how Oxford Instruments NanoScience will provide support to each project and how these partnerships will scale up the building of next-generation quantum computers.

"The more we collaborate, the faster we can implement quantum computing to real-world applications for life-changing projects, and head closer towards quantum’s commercialisation."

QuPharma with SEEQC

SEEQC - one of the only multilayer commercial superconductor chip foundries in the world - is leading the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) QuPharma project. The consortium has received £6.8M in funding to build an application-specific quantum computer for Merck KGaA - a science and technology company in Darmstadt, Germany.

The project requires an effective strategy to support the building of a full-stack quantum computer for pharmaceutical drug development. Due for completion in 18 months, the quantum computer will demonstrate a clear route to commercial scalability towards simulations of drugs for photodynamic cancer therapies. In fact, it’s set to be the first quantum computer of its kind as it’s integrated with a high-performance computer in the same network infrastructure, making it an exciting project for the commercialisation of quantum computing. Merck KGaA will benchmark its performance and determine its commercial viability to support the company globally, so stay tuned!

Our role in the project is to provide our cryogenic engineering expertise and a custom cryostat for the building of the quantum computer. We are working alongside major quantum computing partners including Riverlane, University of Oxford, Catapult Medicine Discoveries and members from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, including the UK’s National Quantum Computing Centre. Having previously worked with SEEQC on cryogenic platforms for quantum scale-up, we look forward to once again working with the team as part of this consortium to accelerate research and discovery in pharmaceuticals.

Altnaharra with Quantum Motion

Oxford Instruments NanoScience has partnered in a £5.7M funded project called ‘Altnaharra’ led by Quantum Motion - an industry-leading organisation developing quantum computing architectures that are compatible with standard silicon processing. The team is developing a revolutionary technology platform with a scalable array of qubits based on the silicon technology already present in smartphones and computers.

The project’s focus is the development of quantum computing technology using superconducting, ion trap and spin qubits. Currently, a central Quantum Information Processor (QIP) scaling issue is how to control and readout each qubit in a large array without needing to use an excessively large number of external wires. These challenges can be addressed by moving the control and readout electronics closer to the qubits. At Oxford Instruments NanoScience, we will focus on developing the cryoelectronics for quantum circuits, specifically a cryogenic chip for integrated qubit control and readout, manufactured in a standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) foundry. The team will be using Quantum Motion’s dilution fridges to carry out the project for 36 months.

Cryo-CMOS with SureCore

We are also taking part in a £6.5M funded project led by SureCore - specialists in low power memory solutions. This project runs for 36 months too, focusing on the development of cryo-CMOS electronics and allowing for the development of memory and control architecture for local control and measurement of qubits. This is to simplify architecture and reduce the number of wires for the QIP - factors that are limiting the scalability of future quantum devices along with reducing the cost of current qubit control. The consortium will create the intellectual property necessary to design silicon-based CMOS circuits optimised for quantum computing applications and operating at cryogenic temperatures, manufactured using conventional foundries.

Oxford Instruments NanoScience will support the endeavour by supplying cryogenics measurement expertise to facilitate cryo-CMOS solutions for new silicon chip design rules. Extensive characterisation of these CMOS circuits will be conducted at low temperatures to validate performance. Models, technology computer-aided design (TCAD) and process design kits (PDKs) will be updated accordingly, and will be used to guide the fabrication of cryo-CMOS control chips for two different quantum computing hardware platforms (ion trap and superconducting) operating at different temperatures.

What these partnerships mean for Oxford Instruments NanoScience

These Innovate UK partnerships mean significant progress in the commercialisation of quantum computers for meaningful enterprise applications. We look forward to working with SEEQC, Quantum Motion and SureCore for this reason, and will continue to grow our international partnerships as part of our technology development roadmap. The more we collaborate, the faster we can implement quantum computing to real-world applications for life-changing projects, and head closer towards quantum’s commercialisation.

We feel proud to be able to partner with these leading organisations to accelerate research and discovery. Thanks to our proven history of delivering complex technology, we are a trusted partner of choice for cryogenic platforms for quantum scale-up on the road to building the next generation of quantum computers. We look forward to the journey and seeing what’s to come in the very near future.

To find out more about Innovate UK, visit:

To find out more about the partners leading Innovate UK’s consortiums, visit: