Quantum Computing

Researchers at Intel Introduce 12-Qubit Silicon Chip ‘Tunnel Falls’

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In a movie released by the Intel Newsroom on YouTube, researchers from Intel’s Hillsboro, Oregon facility explain quantum computing and introduce Tunnel Falls, the company’s most advanced silicon spin qubit chip. Reported by The Quantum Insider in a news release last week, the 300-millimeter wafer, twelve-qubit devices leverage Intel’s most advanced transistor fabrication capabilities, such as extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and gate and contact processing.

In a press release, Jim Clarke, director of Quantum Hardware, Intel, said: “Tunnel Falls is Intel’s most advanced silicon spin qubit chip to date and draws on decades of the company’s transistor design and manufacturing expertise. This new chip release is the next step in Intel’s long-term strategy to build full-stack commercial quantum computing systems. While there are still fundamental questions and challenges to be resolved along the path to fault-tolerant quantum computers, the academic community can now explore this technology and accelerate research development.”

The short film includes several Intel researchers going into the details of Tunnel Falls.

Here’s what they said:

Stephanie Bojarski, Quantum Integration and Mask Design Group Leader, Quantum Computing Group, Intel Corporation:

“One of the barriers to getting into quantum research is having the facilities to actually build working qubit chips. Tunnel Falls leverages Intel’s manufacturing infrastructure, allowing us to build many functioning, highly reliable, high-performance qubit chips. And we will deliver it to university groups across the country, eliminating the extra cost of fabrication, allowing them to truly focus on advancing research and the quantum computing field.”

Nathan Bishop, Technical Program Manager, Quantum Computing Group, Intel Corporation:

“This campus is one of the few places where you can do this type of quantum computing research in a high-volume manufacturing environment in the world. Intel produces full 300-millimeter wafers with qubits, and we only tested a few of them because we tested what we needed to work fast. The Laboratory for Physical Sciences has built a research community focused on the hardest problems in qubit physics and we can work with them, get them to work on our Tunnel Falls hardware, and move faster together.

Building a semiconductor qubit research group is a big investment. There are lots of people with good ideas who don’t want to use quantum computers in the cloud, but they also don’t want to set up all the necessary infrastructure to build them. We can put our Tunnel Falls device in the hands of the research group, expand the community, and bring more people into the quantum computing power.”

Joelle Corrigan, Measurement Engineer, Quantum Computing Group, Intel Corporation:

“I’m excited about Tunnel Falls because it’s really a pivotal point of qubit count in a device, where you have to start thinking about automation. You can’t force setup and you have to actually set up the infrastructure we may need for bigger and bigger systems.

We’re all here because we think physics is fun, but especially in these devices, they’re robust and reliable and flexible enough to investigate the physics we care about.”

Hubert George, Integration Engineer, Quantum Computing Group, Intel Corporation

“Tunnel Falls is a next-generation spin qubit device that we built and features our linear array of 12 spin qubits. Its significance is in helping us validate the fabrication process as well as the actual device physics before moving on to more complex two-dimensional qubit architectures.

Quantum computing will help us solve problems that there is no other route to solving using classical computers. It’s going to help us in cryptography, it’s going to help us with optimization problems, pharmacology, it’s going to be the life-changing impact we’re going to have with quantum computing.”

Featured image: Credit: Intel Newsroom

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