ATIQ: bringingion-trap-based quantum computers closer to applications

AMO GmbH and the Chair of Electronic Devices at RWTH are partners of the project “ATIQ -Quantum Computers with Stored Ions for Applications”, a major initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with the goal of developing a first generation of reliable, user-friendly and 24/7 available quantum-computer demonstrators based on ion trap technology.

Quantum computers promise unprecedented computing powerfor certain tasks. The past decades have witnessed major advances in the field, but the realization of a programmable, universal quantum computer still remains a very ambitious and long-term goal. However, the combination of classical high-performance computing and a quantum co-processor tailored for specific applications is seen today as a particularly rich opportunity in the short and medium term, for example for quantum-chemistry simulations or credit risk assessment in finance.

Today, one of the most advanced platforms for quantum computing is ion trap technology. The current systems are however complex laboratory machines, which need to be maintained and calibrated by highly skilled personnel. The goal of the project ATIQ is to optimize this type of technology towards 24/7-operation with high computational accuracy, and to develop a user interface that will allow external users to run their quantum algorithms on the new machines. This type of optimization may furthermore allow scaling up the size of the quantum demonstrators from an initial 10 to eventually more than 100 qubits.

To reach this ambitious goal, ATIQ brings together the leading groups in ion-trap research at the Leibniz Universität Hannover / PTB Braunschweig, at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, and at the University of Siegen, as well as research institutions, and strong industry and technology partners.“We want to take the next big step together. ATIQ is intended to be the crystallization point for a German ecosystem of ion trap quantum technology, bringing together technology partners, science and users, and leading to relevant commercial exploitations,” says the project coordinator Professor Christian Ospelkaus of Leibniz University and the Physikalisch-TechnischeBundesanstalt (PTB) Braunschweig.

“AMO, RWTH Aachen University and Black Semiconductor are three of the “technology partners” of the project — in the sense that we bring our engineering mindset to the field of quantum computing.”, says Prof. Max Lemme, head of the Chair of Electronic Devices at RWTH Aachen University and Scientific Director of AMO GmbH. “In particular, we provide our expertise in developing advanced photonic chips with novel specifications. Our task in ATIQ is to realize the photonic part of a chip that will allow controlling the trapped ions in a more simple and reliable way than what is done today in the laboratory. I am very excited to contribute to such a large and ambitious project.”

The project “ATIQ – Quantum Computers with Stored Ions for Applications” is part of the BMBF funding measure “Quantum Computer Demonstration Setups”. The project started on December 1st, 2021, will run for 5 years and the total project volume is 44.5 million euros, including contributions of the participating companies. In total, the competencies of 25 partners are bundled in ATIQ and coordinated at Leibniz Universität Hannover. The partners are Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, University of Siegen, TU Braunschweig, RWTH Aachen University, Physikalisch-TechnischeBundesanstalt (PTB), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, AMO GmbH, AKKA Industry Consulting GmbH, Black Semiconductor GmbH, eleQtron GmbH, FiberBridge Photonics GmbH, Infineon Technologies AG, JoS QUANTUM GmbH, LPKF Laser & Electronics AG, Parity Quantum Computing Germany GmbH, QUARTIQ GmbH, Qubig GmbH and TOPTICA Photonics AG. Associated partners are AQT Germany GmbH, Boehringer Ingelheim, Covestro AG, DLR-SI, Volkswagen AG and QUDORA Technologies GmbH.