Quantum Computing

planqc secures 29 Million Euro Contract From DLR to Build And Install Scalable Atom-Neutral Quantum Computers

Insider Summary

  • The German Aerospace Center (DLR) selected planqc to develop a digital neutral atom-based quantum computing hardware and software platform.
  • The 100-qubit system will be installed at the DLR Innovation Center in Ulm.
  • This is considered to be the first sale of a digital quantum computer based on neutral atoms in Europe.
  • Image: planqc

PRESS RELEASE — planqc has been selected by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to develop a scalable digital neutral atom-based quantum computing hardware and software platform that can demonstrate quantum algorithms for real-world problems. This award is worth 29 million EUR. planqc is working closely with Menlo Systems and ParityQC who will provide critical components for the laser system, software and architecture. This is the first sale of a digital quantum computer based on neutral atoms in Europe.

The award comes at a time of impressive growth for the company and follows Hermann Hauser’s appointment as advisor to the board.

Planqc – the European leader for digital quantum processors based on neutral atoms – has won competition across Europe and has now been commissioned to build and install a quantum processor using ultracold atoms in an optical lattice at the DLR Innovation Center in Ulm (Germany). This system will be scalable and will be integrated into the DLR quantum computing stack as part of the DLR Quantum Computing Initiative (DLR QCI).

“We are very proud that DLR is relying on planqc as a technology leader in the field of neutral atoms to build a quantum computer. This order is an important milestone in our commercialization and growth strategy, which envisions expanding into other key industries and opening up global markets as the next step.” Says Alexander Glätzle, CEO and Co-Founder of planqc. “Not only are we excited to install the first quantum computer based on neutral atoms in a DLR, but we are also looking forward to working closely with DLR experts to run quantum algorithms on them that will have a real impact on many areas of DLR application.” Add Sebastian

Blatt, CTO and Co-Founder of planqc. Quantum computers are a breakthrough technology that the future will make possible
calculations and simulations in certain areas of application are performed much faster than in classical supercomputers. They can be used, for example, in designing new materials or drugs, or to solve complex problems in the transport and energy or financial sectors. Quantum computers use the quantum mechanical effect of entanglement and superposition: Their quantum bits (qubits) can assume states 0 and 1 at the same time, and not just one after the other in sequence, as in a classical computer. This is what makes quantum computers so powerful.

The problem areas identified by DLR include quantum materials, quantum machine learning, satellite optimization, and simulation of chemical reactions for the development of more efficient battery systems. Through its own research activities, DLR has a clear need for the future use of quantum computers in all of its priority areas, such as space, energy, transportation, security and digitization.

To begin co-development and increase synergies with DLR, planqc will have a dedicated laboratory and office space at the DLR Innovation Center in Ulm. “Diversity is an important feature of the DLR Quantum Computing Initiative. QCI pursues different technological approaches to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of each. With this project, we are adding another promising technology to our portfolio of quantum computers at the Ulm site,” said Dr. Karla Loida, Hardware Lead for QCI.

“For neutral atoms to become qubits, they must first be trapped and confined in a vacuum by a laser beam,” said Dr. Robert Axmann, Head of DLR QCI. The atoms are then arranged in an orderly fashion, similar to an egg in an egg carton, and can be manipulated with a laser.

This is how the qubit array is created. “In order for two qubits to interact with each other, the atoms are excited into what is called a Rydberg state. Without interaction or entanglement between qubits, a quantum computer would not function,” said Axmann.

Planqc start-up was founded in April 2022 in Garching near Munich (Germany). The founding team was built on decades of research and development on innovative technologies at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) Munich. Using optical gratings, a technology pioneered in Munich, thousands of atoms can now be trapped in the standing-wave light pattern formed by a single laser beam. Quantum information is stored in the electronic state of the strontium atom, the same state used to make the world’s best atomic clocks because of their extraordinarily long coherence times. This unique combination of quantum technologies has the potential to be one of the fastest ways to scale to thousands of qubits with superior gate precision, a prerequisite for industry-relevant quantum excellence.

For more information, visit www.planqc.eu

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